Challenger banks One Savings Bank and Charter Court Financial Services Group are in final talks over a potential £1.6bn merger, the firms have confirmed.
The companies said they are in advanced discussions regarding an all-share combination, which would see One Savings Bank chief executive Andy Golding become the boss of the combined group.
If the deal is completed One Savings Bank shareholders would own around 55 per cent of the combined company, and Charter Court shareholders would hold around 45 per cent.
In a statement the banks said the merger would create a leading UK specialist mortgage lender and establish a retail-wholesale funding platform.
One Savings has long been tipped to lead consolidation in the challenger bank sector under the leadership of Golding.
Activist investor Elliott Advisors is the largest shareholder in Charter Court, which listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2017, and its verdict is likely to be significant when the deal is put to shareholders.