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Ipswich Building Society reports ‘strong’ performance in 2017

PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 February 2018

The Ipswich Building Society's new town centre branch in Princes Street, Ipswich.

The Ipswich Building Society's new town centre branch in Princes Street, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich Building Society has announced increased annual profits, along with higher mortgage lending and savings balances, for the year to November 30.

Reception in the new Ipswich Building Society branch in the centre of Ipswich.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Reception in the new Ipswich Building Society branch in the centre of Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The society, which has about 65,000 members across its nine branches and two agencies around Suffolk, achieved a pre-tax profit of £3.1m last year, up from £2.6m in 2016.

Gross mortgage lending grew from £120m to £159m, with net lending rising from £23m to £44m and total mortgage assets reaching £521m, while savings balances grew from £541m to £567m.

The number of mortgage applications processed during the year grew by 17% compared with 2016 but the society said that its “diligent” approach to lending had continued to protect its members, helping to keep both arrears and repossessions at a low level.

“A personalised approach to underwriting has continued to support those who may be cast aside as ‘mortgage misfits’ by other lenders, including the self-employed, older borrowers, self-builders, first-time buyers, and zero-hour contract workers,” it added.

Alan Harris, chairman of Ipswich Building Society. Alan Harris, chairman of Ipswich Building Society.

The society also underlined its commitment to maintaining its branch network. “At a time when Suffolk has seen announcements for 22 bank and building society branch closures, the society has restated its commitment to physical banking, with the opening of a new flagship branch, Mutual House, in Ipswich, and relocation of an existing branch to new premises in Woodbridge,” it said.

Changes at the society during the year included the arrival of new non-executive director Steve Liddell, the retirement of Derek Bowden from the board and the end of former chair Sarah Evans’ maximum nine-year term, with Alan Harris, a member of the board since 2011, taking over as chair in December.

Mr Harris said: “Against a backdrop of change in the UK’s financial sector we maintained a strong and consistent level of performance in 2017.

“Our model remains simple – to provide a safe home for savers and to use these funds to provide low risk mortgages to UK borrowers – and we are pleased to reaffirm our commitment to our branch network which is enabling this to happen with a high level of personal service.”

Last year saw the society’s employees contribute more than 1,000 volunteering hours in support of local communities and 705 hours delivering financial education programmes in schools, colleges and prisons.

Fundraising efforts by staff, with matched funding from the society, resulted in more than £16,000 being donated to local charities and a further £39,000 was paid to three local charities in respect of affinity savings accounts.

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