Profits soar at Skipton

SKIPTON Building Society has seen a dramatic increase in pre-tax profits in the first half of 2012.

The lender also strengthened its capital ratios during the period.

Pre-tax profits rose to £22.3m, up from £6.3m in the first half of 2011 and compared to £22.2m for the whole of last year.

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The increase in profitability was due to a turnaround in the performance of the group’s core mortgages and savings business, which achieved a pre-tax profit of £3.9m compared to a loss of £8.1m for the first half of 2011.

David Cutter, chief executive, said: “I am pleased to announce the increase in our profitability and overall performance over the past six months which is the result of our ongoing clear strategy of prudent growth, balanced with cautious management of our business and a steadfast focus on the needs of our members.

“We are not complacent as we enter the second half of 2012, given the continued economic challenges facing the Eurozone in particular and the UK in general.

“However, we remain confident that the strength of our diversified group, coupled with our plans for managing future challenges which might emerge, will continue to stand us in good stead as we provide a reliable haven for meeting our members’ financial needs.”

Skipton increased its core tier one capital ratio - a key measure of financial strength - to 10.88 per cent, up from 10.53 per cent the same period in 2011.

The group appointed a new chairman, former HBOS finance director Mike Ellis, in May 2011.