Skipton Building Society said on Wednesday its savings balances grew 7.7% to £18.7 billion in 2020 while its total assets increased 10.9% during the year to £28.3 billion.
The UK’s fourth largest building society said 2020 profit before tax fell to £118.8 million from £153.2 million
The Society said it helped 24,557 homeowners (2019: 29,727) purchase or remortgage their properties including 5,424 first time buyers (2019: 5,923) and 5,955 buy-to-let borrowers (2019: 7,878).
Skipton Group chief executive David Cutter said: “Without a doubt 2020 was one of the most challenging years we have ever faced.
“Our fundamental priority remains of looking after our members and people, ensuring their safety and well-being, and being there for them when they need us, wherever they need us.
“I’m so incredibly proud that our people, all of whom were impacted by COVID-19 just like everyone else across the UK, adapted and responded positively by continuing to serve our customers throughout such unprecedented times.
“As a 168-year-old mutual, Skipton’s values are firmly rooted in helping people have a home and save for the future.
“We will always make decisions based on the long-term best interests of the business and our members, not shareholders.
“Over the years this consistent approach has seen us successfully navigate through the good times, and the difficult times.
“And COVID-19 brought this purpose to the fore.
“Whilst we still reported good group profits for the year, our financial results reflect a challenging period.
“Our Mortgages and Savings division has been heavily impacted by increased impairment charges and our Estate Agency division, Connells, saw all of its UK branches forced to close for two months.
“However, the resilienceof Skipton’s business model has allowed the Society to maintain strong capital ratios throughout and we look to the future with confidence.”
I his outlook, Cutter added: “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant social and economic disruption, and although the UK Government has taken extraordinary steps to support people, public services and businesses, the impact on the general population is colossal and will be felt for many more years to come.
“While it is early to predict how the UK will recover from such disruption, the encouraging rollout of vaccines should result in an improvement in consumer and business confidence.
“We welcome the fact that the UK Government agreed a Brexit deal with the EU at the end of 2020.
“Unlike some industries, the Society is not directly impacted by the trading relationship between the UK and EU, however we are interested in any potential secondary or tertiary impacts on the housing, mortgage and savings markets …
“The outlook for the Society is positive but will be dependent upon the performance of the UK economy as the pandemic evolves, vaccines are rolled out and the Government takes measures to protect public health and support the economy.
“The Society’s strong financial position, diversified business model, and compelling customer propositions means it is well placed to continue to deliver for its members during these uncertain times.”