This is an increase of £7bn from £46bn in 2015 through 8,000 brokers.
The insurance, pension and housing giant also arranged around 520,000 home valuations through Legal and General Surveying Services, up 8% on 2015, with 465,000 surveys.
Its report said: “We want to be economically and socially useful by addressing some of the greatest challenges facing society, through helping people achieve financial security and investing in jobs, homes and urban regeneration.”
Legal and General, which continues in its strategic shift to include housing development, regeneration and equity release, predicts equity release sales will hit £2.3bn by 2019. The firm bought Newlife Home Finance in 2015 which became L&G Home Finance and completed £620m of lifetime mortgage lending or 12,000 accounts in 2016 becoming one of the market’s largest lenders by volume in under a year and a half.
The report outlined the market opportunities with £1.5tn of housing equity held by the over 55s and added that its proposition is to help elderly people boost their retirement funds for a variety of purposes: paying off loans, home improvements, improving their quality of life, helping their families or using for home care costs.
L&G said its equity release success was built on competitive interest rates, in-house surveying services, financial stability and brand, offering digital processing, with its distribution strength helped by the partnership with Santander to offer equity release to its interest-only customers.
Other highlights of the year include £600m build-to-rent joint-venture schemes in Walthamstow, Salford and Bristol. The insurance division achieved a 26% share of the individual life protection UK market and reported retail protection direct sales up 7% and GI direct sales up 20%.
Nigel Wilson, group chief executive, said: “Our long term approach to strategy and investment coupled with outstanding execution has again delivered terrific financial performance in 2016. Profit before tax was up 17% to £1.6bn, net release from operations was up 12% to £1.4bn, EPS up 19% at 22.2p and a return on equity of nearly 20%.
“We believe the UK remains a great place for us to help fill the huge funding gaps and under-provision of key financial products. We are playing our part to regenerate the UK’s cities, delivering economic growth and jobs, capitalise on its world-leading universities and improve commercialisation of its scientific discoveries. Additionally, we are accelerating the evolution of our US businesses.”