Two UK building societies post positive 2019 results

Skipton Building Society and Newcastle Building Society have both announced positive financial results for 2019.

Skipton revealed it had increased its mortgage balances by 10.3% since the end of 2018, while helping 29,727 people to purchase or remortgage their properties in 2019.

The society also increased its savings balances by 7.6% and paid 0.54% above the rest of market average rate to its savers during the year.

Skipton suggested it is committed to investing into its business to ensure first rate customer service, with a revised financial advice proposition and customer mobile app both launched in the year.

Skipton group chief executive, David Cutter, commented: “In the face of a challenging operating environment, Skipton has continued to deliver first class service and value to its members.

“We have continued to invest in our business for the benefit of current and future members, we have launched an app for our customers, which saw 100,000 registrations during the year, and we have made some major changes to our financial advice offering, making it more personal, affordable and straightforward and hence accessible and relevant to more people.

“Since 1853, our purpose has been to help more people into homes and save for their future. Our strong capital position and diversified business has enabled us to continue to successfully and sustainably deliver for our members today and we are well positioned to do so in the future.”

Newcastle also announced it experienced a strong performance throughout 2019, which saw the society report record mortgage lending, a 12% net growth in customer numbers, increased profit, strong capital ratios, good liquidity and low credit risk across its mortgage book.

The society said it welcomed significant numbers of new customers and increased retail savings funded through its branches – with an increase in branch savings balances of 23%, equalling a net movement of £400m and an overall net increase of customers of 12%.

In the mortgage market, the society suggested competition had been fierce during 2019, with the added challenge of Brexit uncertainty affecting consumer confidence. Newcastle still reported that its mortgage lending hit a record high of £575m – an increase of £415m on 2018.

“Like many regions in the UK we’ve witnessed the withdrawal of banks and financial institutions from our high streets,” Newcastle chief executive, Andrew Haigh, commented. “We share concerns expressed across our communities as we witness closed premises, visible decline, and the reduction in the availability of local financial services.

“But for a society committed to the region and with a strategy to be part of the solution, this is also an opportunity. In our view, something has to change. It’s time for new and innovative thinking.

“Our focus on continued innovation, our sustainable, long term business model and our robust financial performance are critical factors in ensuring we can continue to make a genuine, positive difference for the customers and communities we serve across our region and beyond.”

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