In its annual results, the Co-operative Bank announced that it registered mortgage completions of £4.3bn, up from £3.4bn, its highest year since 2010.
Meanwhile net lending jumped dramatically from £100m to £1.4bn with its retail mortgage book growing from £14.8bn at the start of 2018 to reach £16.2bn by the end of the year.
Co-operative Bank said that this increase was “driven” by its Platform brand, resulting in its highest level of completions since 2010. In total, 98 per cent of its mortgage business came through intermediaries.
Andrew Bester, chief executive officer of Co-operative Bank, described the performance of the Platform brand as “resilient” in the face of an extremely competitive market.
He continued: “This lending has been safe and of high quality. Our success is the result of a focused pricing strategy and emphasis on adviser service.
“New products have been introduced that are designed to support first time buyers, including Help to Buy and higher loan-to-value lending products. We have also been able to retain increased numbers of existing mortgage customers.”
Improving customer proposition
The lender said that it is looking to “replatform” its mortgage services in 2019, which it says will result in better priced products and services.
It is targeting a growth in mortgage assets, which it suggests will again come primarily through the Platform brand.
However, it acknowledges this will depend on improvements in its customer proposition, the success of a limited number of intermediaries who also sell mortgages of the bank’s competitors, and the bank’s ability to attract business in a “crowded, competitive, and mature” market.
Overall, the Co-op Bank posted a loss before tax of £140.7m, compared to a loss of £140.3m in 2017, though it did manage operating profit, for the first time since 2013, of £14.9m.