Ecology Building Society records 'strong performance' in face of slowdown

The Ecology Building Society said it had recorded a strong performance last year during a period of uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

Ecology Building Society has published its latest results

The Yorkshire based Ecology Building Society has announced an increase in total assets of 14.13% to above £200m for the first time and a 9.43% increase in mortgage assets for the year ending December 31 2020.

In a statement, the society said: "This is a strong and resilient performance against the backdrop of the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic and the effective closure of the property market during the first lockdown combined with the unprecedented low level of the Bank of England base rate.

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"The society ended the year with strong levels of new lending and begins 2021 with a record pipeline of sustainable lending prospects supported by an enhanced capital position, strong inflow of funds and membership growth generated by the increasing awareness of climate and ecological issues. This provides Ecology with an excellent platform for growth as the crucially important green recovery gathers pace.

Ecology offers a range of ethical savings accounts which fund mortgages for properties and projects supporting individuals and communities to adopt green building practices, improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock and to live or work in a way that promotes a sustainable economy.

While impacted by the unprecedented low interest rate environment and higher impairment provisions, the society said it continued to invest in digital and operational capability with profits above expectation at £0.524m, compared with £1.073m the year before.

In 2020 Ecology lent over £39.3m for sustainable properties and projects, with 67% of mortgages for residential properties, including new energy efficient homes, renovations and shared ownership, and 33% for community-led housing and non-residential properties such as sustainable businesses.

During the year, the society also enhanced its range of green mortgages for renovations and whole house retrofit to drive forward energy efficiency improvements of existing homes to help meet the UK’s net-zero carbon ambitions.

Chief Executive Paul Ellis said: “’These results mark another strong year of sustainable growth for Ecology demonstrating, more than ever, the resilience of our lending model and the importance of finance that has a positive impact for people and our planet.

“2021 is a special year for Ecology as we mark our 40-year anniversary of pioneering sustainable finance. Our members can continue to be assured that Ecology is at the heart of the drive to deliver the vital green recovery and their money is delivering a real contribution to tackle the climate and ecological crisis.

“Looking ahead our strong pipeline of lending for low impact homes and financial position gives us a firm foundation to invest in our services to our members, innovate, and grow our sustainable lending further during 2021 and beyond.

“Ecology is agitating for the Government to deliver clear and consistent climate leadership in the run up to COP26 and urgently deliver on its plans to support greener homes, which will be vital if we are to meet our Paris commitments."