Leeds Building Society assets rise 5% to £19.4bn

Richard Fearon

Leeds Building Society said on Wednesday its mortgage balances increased 6% to £15.8 billion in 2018, with total assets rising 5% to £19.4 billion.

Profit before tax slipped to £116.9 million from £120.9 million a year earlier, “lower primarily as a result of the one-off impact of the sale of its Irish mortgage book (£6.5m).”

The 2018 performance brings to an end Peter Hill’s seven and a half years as chief executive officer as he is succeeded by Richard Fearon, who joined the society board three years ago.

Fearon said: “Increased competition is expected to put further pressure on margin in 2019, and ongoing political and economic uncertainty linked to Britain’s exit from the EU will continue to affect consumer confidence and the housing market in unpredictable ways.

“We expect this, combined with the costs of our ongoing investment in member value and further developing our digital capability, to result in lower, though still robust, profitability in the near term.”

Fearon added: “Our robust 2018 caps off Peter’s successful tenure at the head of Leeds Building Society and I’m proud to take over from him as I look ahead to the future and the next stage of our development.

“Under Peter’s leadership the society’s total assets and profits have more than doubled, giving us the platform to keep growing sustainably and focusing on what matters to our members, as we carry on striving to offer them security and value.

“Building societies, including our own, have been around a long time but have always embraced innovation and we’ll continue to adapt as the pace of change in modern financial services moves ever faster.

“Investment during 2019 will be the highest in our history so we can carry on helping more members save and have the home they want, while increasing our digital capability and moving forward with pace and focus to meet and surpass their expectations.

 “This is possible thanks to the fact we’re financially stronger than we’ve ever been, because of our sustained and carefully-managed growth, supported by record profits in recent years.”