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Nationwide sets its sights on Ireland

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by Kay Mitchell

The Nationwide has announced its intention to set up operations next year in the Irish Republic.

The building society, which is one of the UK’s biggest mortgage lenders said it will initially offer savings accounts to customers by post, telephone and online, subject to approval from the UK’s Financial Services Authority and its Irish equivalent, the IFSRA.

Commenting on the expansion, Nationwide said it was a prudent strategic move and was aimed at geographical diversification.

The move will mean Nationwide will have a business in the euro zone and, as a result, will enable it able to access some of the funds that the European Central Bank has been making available to financial institutions in that area.

However, Nationwide said it has no immediate plans to open a branch in the Irish Republic and it does not intend to offer mortgages to potential customers.

A spokesperson for the Nationwide said savers will not be voting members of the society as accounts will be deposit accounts.

The Nationwide is the biggest of the UK’s remaining 59 building societies and has over 800 branches and makes up for just over half of all outstanding mortgage lending by UK building societies.

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News posted: August 18, 2008

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