MSE News

Nationwide urged to "give members a say" over proposed Virgin Money takeover as thousands sign petition calling for a vote

Over 4,700 people have signed a petition calling on Nationwide – a building society owned by its customers, who are known as members – to let them vote on its decision to buy rival lender Virgin Money. The petition argues there's "no guarantee" the proposed £2.9 billion deal will benefit members "in any way", though Nationwide says the move will enable it to offer "better mortgages and savings rates".

Nationwide made a formal offer to buy Virgin Money in March 2024. The planned takeover would eventually see all of Virgin Money's customers transferred to Nationwide – though it's still early days, as the deal is yet to be approved by regulators and Virgin Money shareholders.

'Members deserve a say': thousands call on Nationwide to hold a vote

At the time of writing, a petition calling on Nationwide to give its members a say in the purchase of Virgin Money has 4,711 signatures. It heavily criticises Nationwide's decision to go ahead with the deal without consulting members.

Hundreds have left comments on the petition page explaining their reasons for signing it, with the key concerns being around the cost of the takeover and scepticism over what benefits, if any, it would bring. Here's just a small selection:

  • "If it has any meaning that we are a membership organisation, then members should get to vote on something as big as this. That would mean we would be given a better explanation of the supposed benefits to members."

  • "I signed this petition because Nationwide has decided to spend £2.9 billion of our money on something that appears unnecessary when it could be offering better savings rates, lower mortgage rates or [extending] the annual members' bonus to all loyal members..."

  • "I have been with Nationwide for over 40 years and have always liked the fact that it is a mutual society, run in the interests of its members... Nationwide members deserve a say and should have a vote."

But Nationwide says the deal will make it "stronger" and that a vote is "not required" 

A spokesperson for Nationwide said: "Buying Virgin Money will make Nationwide a stronger building society, ensuring it can offer better mortgages and savings rates compared to the market average and expand its products and services.

"Nationwide has also undertaken several polls of its members, reaching over 10,000 people, showing only very small numbers view the deal negatively.

"A member vote is not required under Nationwide's own rules or the Building Society Act, and Nationwide’s Board believes that this deal is in the best interest of current and future members."

Existing Nationwide or Virgin Money customer? Don't worry – nothing is changing for now

For the time being, there's NO change to Nationwide or Virgin Money's products or services – you can continue to use them as normal. You can also reach out to Nationwide and Virgin Money's customer services with any queries or complaints.

Of course, it could be worth taking this opportunity to check you're getting the best possible deal on your banking products and services – see our guides on:

Before switching, remember to check for any exit fees or penalties.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!