You have probably heard of the Co-operative Bank, but have you heard of the Co-operative Building Society?
The Co-operative Bank
As I write this in March 2017 the Co-operative Bank has recently been in the news as it has been put up for sale. This comes after a rescue just a few years before in which The Co-operative Group lost total ownership and thus control of the bank it set up.
The Co-operative Building Society
Those looking for another mutually owned financial institution may well consider the Nationwide Building Society which offers a range of current and savings accounts. I wonder how many of these will realise that The Nationwide also has its roots in the same co-operative movement as the Co-op food shops, Co-op Bank and The Co-op Funeralcare.
The Co-operative Permanent Building Society started back in 1884 to enable co-operative society members to own their own house. Like many Building Societies over the coming years they grew and grew by merging with other smaller societies.
In 1970 the members of the Co-op Building Society voted to change the name to the Nationwide Building Society which through further mergers has gone on to become the worlds largest building society.
This is not the first of its businesses The Co-op has lost control of. Back in 2011 they merged Co-operative Travel with the retail arm of Thomas Cook in a 30%/70% ownership split. Later they raised money by selling their chain of dispensing chemists which re-branded as Well Pharmacy.