Speaking to this publication after its latest results deputy chief executive of Leeds Building Society, Andrew Greenwood (pictured), said he was pleased with the results, pointing to strong first-time buyer and shared ownership activity.
The mutual’s interim results showed that its gross lending came to £1.9bn in the first six months of the year with around half of its new borrowers being first-time buyers.
The result also showed significant shared ownership activity with June being its busiest month on record for the scheme.
Looking ahead, he said the mutual would continue to engage with brokers, and was “continuing to make sure that we’re active in the market”.
“We’re active up to all loan to values up to 95 per cent, and clearly the fact that we’ve had very strong results this year shows that we’re open for business and supporting the market appropriately,” he added.
Greenwood continued that its core markets, and a key aspect of its purpose, was first-time buyers and the affordable housing market.
Looking ahead, Greenwood said its recent partnership with Experian was “part of a program of developments”.
“We’re going to try and get more data into our decisioning system to enable us to make better and more well-informed decisions from richer data sources, which will help with our purpose.
“Clearly the more data we can get, the better decisions that we can make, and the more people are likely to be successful in their application. So, we absolutely do have a further program with development that we would want to take forward in that regard,” he added.
Mortgage Charter take up has been ‘relatively muted’
Regarding the Mortgage Charter, Greenwood said the mutual was one of the first signatories and had brought out a “simple digital application solution” for customers who may need help under the terms of the charter.
He said take-up of charter measures had been “relatively muted” which he attributed to its mortgage book being “very resilient”.
Greenwood added that there had not been “significant movement” in arrears.
“In anticipation of potentially more difficult times we’ve invested further in our mortgage support colleagues, and we’ve got a variety of tailored support options that we can offer to any customers in financial difficulty. We stand ready to engage with them, whether it’s on a charter subject or more broadly,” he added.
Greenwood said one measure that Leeds Building Society had kept in place since the pandemic was not charging arrears fees.
“I do think that firms generally need to be thoughtful about not only their engagement with new customers, but actually how they ensure that they are completely looking after appropriately existing customers as well,” he added.