We've had a record-breaking year so far
It’s fair to say that 2022 has brought global challenges that have been felt by everyone. We’ve seen tragic events unfolding in the Ukraine and a growing cost of living crisis that affects us all.
During these tricky times, we’ve delivered on our purpose of putting home ownership within reach of as many people as possible and we’ve kept our savings interest rates competitive for new and existing members.
In a record-breaking year, we’ve helped 23,000 more people have the home they want, and 41,000 more people save for their future. This means we’ve been able to deliver a half year profit before tax of £146.5m (£70.3m 30 June 2021), ensuring we remain financially strong in the face of any new challenges.
Read on for the highlights or view our full half-year report.
Our half-year results
In 2021, we had an exceptional performance when it came to lending as the housing market bounced back after the pandemic.
We’ve built on this in the last six months, with gross lending climbing to £2.5bn (£2.0bn 30 June 2021). Nine of our ten biggest-ever lending days have happened in the first half of this year.
As a mutual, our purpose is clear: to put home ownership within reach of more people, now and in the future. As we focus on future generations of first-time buyers, we’re delighted to announce that 9,000 of our new members are first time buyers who chose to have their first mortgage with us. This brings our total membership to 815,000 and we’ll continue working hard to help first time buyers onto the property ladder.
To make sure we’re able to deliver on our mortgage ambitions, we continued to offer a competitive savings range.
Our savings rate has been consistently above the market average, which means an extra £66m has been paid into our savings members’ pockets in the last six months .
We continue to manage the increases in the Bank of England base rate in a way that helps savers, as we raised our variable savings rate. But we’ve also protected homeowners, raising our standard variable mortgage rate just once.
Working on being better for you
We’re delighted we were able to attract so many new members, however we’re aware that this increased our service demands and meant our contact centre waiting times were sometimes longer than we aim for. This has been addressed and service levels have now returned to normal. We’re also:
- Improving our online experience, making processes simpler and quicker
- Making it easier for mortgage brokers do business with us, with applications now quicker and easier
- Recruiting more skilled professionals to contribute to our digital aims
- Focusing on efficiency, we’ve kept our capital levels strong, with reserves to protect us, and you, in the future
To further deliver on our purpose, we’ve taken the decision to withdraw from new lending on second homes. Second homes reduce the number of properties available to live in and we want to direct more of our efforts to other sectors, especially first-time buyers. Second homes are defined by the Society as additional residential properties which are not let out.
Serving our communities
Supporting our members and communities remains firmly in our heart.
The compassion and generosity of our fantastic colleagues and members was shown in the speed and scale of donations for the humanitarian disaster in Ukraine. With matched funding from the Society, more than £100,000 was raised for relief efforts in Ukraine and the UK, including refugee aid in our home city of Leeds.
Our colleagues and members continued their enthusiastic support for our national partnership with Dementia UK, taking fundraising beyond £400,000 as our Closer to Home project expands to bring specialist dementia care into more communities across the UK.
As always, we’re committed to our members’ needs, delivering on the purpose for which we were founded almost 150 years ago. And we remain as grateful as ever to our members for your continued support.
This article is intended for information purposes only and is accurate at the time of publication. It’s always advisable to verify any information you take before relying on it.
1 We paid an average rate of 0.73% against the rest of the market rate of 0.28%. CACI’s CSDB, Stock, May 2021 to April 2022, latest data available