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Ipswich Building Society sees mortgage rebound after year of investment

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 February 2016

Paul Winter, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society.

Paul Winter, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society.

Ipswich Building Society has reported a successful return to the mortgage market following a year in which it largely focused on IT investment.

The society, which has 65,000 members, said total profit for the 12 months to November 30 came in at £1.9million, down by half compared with £3.8m the year before, reflecting continued investment in technology and a smaller mortgage book.

It reduced its level of mortgage activity on embarking on a major IT infrastructure project in 2014, to allow for the testing required to ensure service standards were maintained as the new system bedded in.

During the second half of last year, however, the society actively returned to the market, resulting in “a noticeable uptick in business” and a strong pipeline of new business for the year ahead.

Mortgage assets at the year end stood at £453m, down from £474m a year earlier, and savings balances were also lower, at £524m against £539m, also reflecting the diversion of resources to the project and a reduced appetite for new business.

During the year, however, the society’s branches achieved a customer satisfaction score of 98%, up from 90.5% in 2014. Other developments included the launch of a new broker brand, aimed at further strengthening relationships with brokers and intermediaries which deliver around 85% of new mortgage business.

Chief executive Paul Winter said: “It has been a year of two halves 
for the society. The investment we made in 2015 relating to our IT systems and strengthening the management team means that we will be able to continue to deliver the products and services our members want.

“The second half of the year was marked by a return to the mortgage market and allowing us to continue to champion the ‘mortgage misfits’ who benefit from an individual approach, and who don’t fit computerised models. This can include the self-employed, contractors and those with smaller deposits.”

He added: “The data showing member satisfaction at an all time high indicates that our approach to personal service through our branches and our mortgage teams is valued by members and mortgage intermediaries alike.”

Last year also saw the society’s staff deliver 984 hours of volunteer support, compared with 616 hours in 2014, and 698 hours of financial education, compared to 231 hours in 2014.

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