The West Brom today announces its half-year results for the six months to 30 September 2017.
- Profit before tax of £4.2m for the six months to 30 September 2017 (30 September 2016: loss of £23.7m
- An uplift in the net interest margin to 0.98% (30 September 2016: 0.93%)
- Growth of 11% in prime residential mortgage balances to £2.6bn (31 March 2017: £2.3bn)
- £478m advanced for new mortgage lending (30 September 2016: £441m)
- Increased support for first time buyers, representing 28% of all new lending during the period (30 September 2016: 20%)
- External recognition for our approach to people management from Investors in People, receiving the Gold accreditation standard.
Jonathan Westhoff, Chief Executive, commented:
I am pleased to report a period of solid progress for the Society during which we have continued to support the financial wellbeing of our membership. Profits achieved represented an 11% improvement in underlying performance and will be used to deliver further member benefits for savers and borrowers alike.
We have successfully increased new lending for home ownership and channelled more than a quarter of these funds to help buyers taking their first step onto the property ladder. There is still demand for mortgages, with borrowers understandably favouring longer term fixed rate products given that Bank Base Rate has finally moved and future rises are to be expected.
While higher interest rates are a new experience for many homeowners and therefore potentially unsettling, we believe borrowers are generally well placed to cope financially. This is supported by a reduction in the number of our residential mortgage holders experiencing significant arrears.
Savers are no doubt welcoming some improvement in the market and the opportunity to earn better returns on their investments. At the West Brom we offer a wide range of savings products and our choice of competitively priced fixed rate bonds and fixed rate ISAs have proved particularly popular over recent months.
We remain committed to serving customers through our regional branch network, however we also recognise the need to invest in our technological capabilities. This is key to achieving future growth and also plays an important part in our defence against the risk of cyber-crime.
Although the West Brom operates a traditional building society model built around the provision of savings, investments and mortgages, we must still ensure we adapt to the changing trends in how people view, manage and transact with their money.
It is this flexible and forward-thinking approach that puts us in a strong position to deliver against our core objectives for the remainder of the financial year, helping more members purchase their own homes and plan for a secure future.
A copy of our Preliminary Results is available to view and download here.