Nationwide profits soar during pandemic following savings boost

The pandemic and subsequent restrictions saw households top up their savings accounts in record numbers, according to Nationwide Building Society.

Nationwide added that those who struggled financially during the pandemic were helped with 256,000 mortgage payment holidays and 105,000 payment breaks for loans and credit cards.

The high street lender revealed deposits during the past year increased by £10.6 billion as shops and the leisure industry remained closed for large parts of the year.

This compared with just £5.7 billion the year before the pandemic.

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Nationwide added that those who struggled financially during the pandemic were helped with 256,000 mortgage payment holidays and 105,000 payment breaks for loans and credit cards.

The details come as the mutual revealed pre-tax profits in the year to April 4 nearly doubled from £466 million to £823 million due to a rise in income and cost-cutting measures across the business.

Mortgages remained strong, with customers taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday, although stricter criteria at the bank saw overall mortgage lending down slightly from £30.9 billion to £29.6 billion.

During the year, Nationwide introduced 90% loan-to-value mortgages and also brought in 95% loan-to-value mortgages this month.

Cost-cutting helped with the profit boost, with bosses revealing administrative expenses fell by £94 million to £2.2 billion.

Nationwide said: “Remote working has been popular with colleagues and made us more productive. The flexibility also helps us better serve our members. We are therefore adopting a flexible working model into the future, where colleagues can choose where they work.”

Chief executive Joe Garner said: “This year has shown the financial strength of the building society mutual model.