The Britannia and Yorkshire building societies have launched a joint branch sharing programme, Mutual Plus, to provide their four million members with access to 332 outlets across the UK.
Under the deal, Britannia's 2.2 million members will now be able to pay into or withdraw money free of charge from a range of savings accounts and make payments to their mortgage accounts at Yorkshire 146 outlets. Yorkshire's 1.8 million members will have access to Britannia's 186 branch network.
Research commissioned on behalf of the two societies in the lead up to the launch, reveals 83% of those questioned prefer to carry out their transactions at a branch even if Internet access is available to them. A further 86% of respondents feel it is important to have a financial institution in the local community.
David Anderson, chief executive of Yorkshire Building Society, says: "Our members tell us that they want face-to-face service but in today's economic climate opening a new branch has huge cost implications. With branch sharing we multiply our networks with minimal outlay."
Graham Stow, Britannia CEO, confirms that Mutual Plus membership will be available to other building societies.