Profits up at Leeds Building Society

HIGHER interest margins helped Leeds Building Society increase pre-tax profits by 13 per cent to £30.6m in the first six months of the year.

Leeds Building Society

The mutual said today that savings balances, assets and membership numbers are all at record levels.

Leeds boosted new residential lending by 20 per cent to £921m, which it said was double its market share and it lans to increase new lending further this year.

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The lender increased net mortgage loans by 26 per cent to £423m.

Meanwhile, savings balances grew by £521m to £8.3bn as the society attracted 39,000 new members.

Total membership is at 703,000. Capital and reserves now stand at £629m.

Peter Hill, chief executive, said “Leeds Building Society continues to provide security and value to its savers and support home ownership.

“I am also delighted that our mutual model has great appeal and we now have more members than at any time in our history.”

He revealed that Leeds completed its debut public securitisation last month, raising £300m.

The society has drawn a total of £250m from the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending scheme.

Mr Hill added that higher net interest income drove the increase in profitability. Roughly speaking, this is the spread between how much it charges borrowers versus how much it pays savers.

The Bank’s scheme, which offers cheap money to lenders, has depressed demand for deposits.

Mr Hill said: “This has enabled us to increase capital and reserves by £31m, to a record £629m, resulting in a core tier 1 ratio of 14.2 per cent (14.1 per cent, June 2012), and a leverage ratio of over 5 per cent.

“Both of these ratios are significantly above regulatory requirements. We also remain one of only three building societies with ‘A’ long term credit ratings from Moody’s and Fitch.”

He said that residential arrears reduced to 2.27 per cent, from 2.76 per cent in the same period in 2012.

He added that commercial loan balances in arrears reduced to 7.7 per cent, from 11.3 per cent last year.

The society has reduced its exposure to the struggling commercial property market by 16 per cent since June 2012. It now represents 4.7 per cent of the total mortgage portfolio.

It increased charges for impairment losses and provisions for property loans by 32 per cent to £26.4m. Total balance sheet mortgage provisions are now £86m.