West Brom sees continued growth on positive mortgage lending

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THE buoyant housing market has continued to boost mortgage lenders, with the West Brom becoming the latest mutual to report growth in its business.

For the financial year ended March 31, 2015, the building society has reported substantial growth in its residential mortgage lending along with pre-tax profits.

It marks the continuing transformation in the mutual’s fortunes after it struggled badly during the financial crisis.

Gross residential mortgage lending reached £446m, which is more than double the amount of lending carried out in the mutual’s last financial year (2013/14: £214m). Pre-tax profits significantly increased to £12.4m (2013/14: £2.1m).

There was a rise in net interest margin to 1.15% (2013/14: 0.81%), while the society’s Common Equity Tier 1 capital ratio increased to 14.4% (2013/14: 13.4%).

Jonathan Westhoff, Chief Executive, said: “It is very pleasing to report further progress in the West Brom’s performance. After returning to profit last year for the first time since the financial crisis, we have built on this achievement and significantly increased pre-tax profits to £12.4m.

“We continue to reduce the impact of legacy issues such as commercial lending, while generating substantial volumes of new business, particularly in response to demand for residential mortgages to support homebuyers.

“Growing consumer confidence and economic stability has created a perfect backdrop for us to bolster our residential mortgage lending. Indeed volumes of gross lending for home ownership are more than double what we delivered in 2013/14.”

He said the society had also been active in its savings operation and during the year it had consolidated and simplified its portfolio of savings products to make it easier for members to track their money. It also boosted rates for those with funds in the lowest paying accounts.

Plans were also said to be progressing well on the society’s move to a new, purpose-built head office in West Bromwich later in the year.

“Looking ahead we are optimistic about our future prospects, buoyed by growth in residential lending and a planned move to new, purpose-built head office premises in our home town of West Bromwich. Due for completion later this year, the facility at Providence Place will accurately reflect our position as the region’s leading building society and a major local employer,” he added.

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