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West Brom BS lending slips with focus on margin and first-timers

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  • 04/06/2020
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West Brom BS lending slips with focus on margin and first-timers
West Brom Building Society’s mortgage lending for 2019-20 fell to £569m as the mutual targeted more sustainable lending and new product ranges.

 

The 18 per cent fall from £691m in 2018-19 was the result of significant competition in the market throughout the last 12 months.

It reflected the mutual’s “strategy of only lending if it is in the best interests of our membership,” it said.

“At points in the year, the pricing available for the risk was not achievable in certain segments.”

The proportion of first-time buyers rose to 50 per cent of new mortgages from 42 per cent last year, while there was a three per cent increase in owner occupied lending balances.

Its range of shared ownership products supported 481 borrowers and as of 31 March 2020, three month arrears rates across owner occupied and buy-to-let portfolios at 0.33 per cent and 0.28 per cent respectively remained well below the industry averages of 0.82 per cent and 0.37 per cent as published by UK Finance.

 

£14m coronavirus hit

Unsurprisingly the coronavirus crisis, which struck right at the end of the reporting period, had a significant impact on the society.

Statutory profit before tax fell from £9.2m to £1.5m, with a final quarter provision charge of £14.7m arising in anticipation of the potential consequences of the pandemic.

The West Brom has also provided more than 5,000 mortgage holidays to help those in financial difficulty and said it was continuing to help with mortgage completions, redemptions and product transfers.

It added that it had not placed any staff on the furloughing scheme and was continuing to pay 100 per cent of salaries, including those that have seen a significant reduction in working hours.

Chief executive Jonathan Westhoff said: “Our end of year results come during an unprecedented global crisis that required dramatic and immediate action from government, industry and communities across the UK.

“The economic consequences of the lockdown period are secondary to the tragic human cost we have seen, and the need to safeguard individuals and protect our vital health service from being overwhelmed.

“Also, as part of the key workers group, our primary focus has been to ensure that we continue to deliver essential services, so our members can manage their finances and have access to their money when needed, as well as prioritising the safety of both members and staff.”

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