Co-op Bank loss narrows to £174m amid recovery

Manchester-based Co-operative Bank said on Wednesday it made a loss before tax of £174.4 million in 2017 compared to a loss before tax of £477.1 million in 2016 as the self-styled “ethical bank” continues to recover from a number of scandals in recent years that resulted in a rescue by a group of hedge funds.

For 2017, the bank said its mortgage completions edged higher year on year by £0.1 billion to £3.2 billion and it reported “stable current account balances at £4.2 billion with only a small net reduction in accounts demonstrating a strong and loyal customer base.”

Co-operative Bank CEO Liam Coleman said: “We concluded 2017 demonstrating a resilient business performance in our priority markets of mortgages and savings, despite the uncertainties earlier in the year.

“The completion of the recapitalisation in September has transformed our capital position and provides a solid platform to deliver our future plans.

“We are grateful to our investors for their continued support and to our customers for their loyalty during a challenging year for the bank.

“As we move forward our foremost priority is to continue to reduce our losses and achieve profitability.

“Like all retail banks we are operating in a difficult market place and we expect increasing competition in the mortgage market moving forward.

“Our distinctive ethical brand, which we know is greatly valued by customers, continues to represent a clear point of difference for us and our access of the Bank of England’s Term Funding Scheme (TFS) ahead of its closure together with our recent securitisation of the Optimum book means we have a strong funding position.

“We must focus on using that in the most effective way to support future growth as we implement our plan to build a successful, sustainable Co-operative Bank.”

Co-operative Bank said in June last year it agreed a complex £700 million rescue package with its major investors that would shore up its capital base.

Last week, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) banned former Co-operative Bank chairman Paul Flowers from the financial services industry.