Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 16:07 UK

Friendly Society seeks partners

Piggy bank

The Nottingham Friendly Society is in talks with nine other societies about a possible merger.

The UK's 46 friendly societies are small, mutually owned, savings and investment organisations, with six million members between them.

The Nottingham stressed that it was solvent, even though it closed its main with-profits investment fund to new contributions in March 2009.

It said seeking a partner was in the best interests of existing members.

"The Society is both solvent and liquid even though, like those of many financial organisations in the current climate, our reserves are not as great as they were," said Roger Leach, chief executive of the Nottingham Friendly Society.

"We are a small organisation and believe a merger with another friendly society will bring economies-of-scale benefits for members, while still preserving the strengths and ethos of a mutual that have attracted investors to us over many years," he added.

Friendly societies do not offer mortgages, unlike building societies.

They offer a small range of investments and insurance, such as limited tax-exempt savings, child trust funds, ISAs, and income protection and medical insurance policies.

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