Manchester’s Co-op Bank narrows loss to £103m

Nick Slape

Manchester-based Co-operative Bank, which recently ended talks on a possible sale of the company,  said on Thursday it made a statutory loss before tax £103.7 million in 2020, compared to a £152.1 million loss in 2019.

The bank’s CEO said its progress positions it well for a return to profitability in the near future.

The self-styled “ethical bank” has been recovering in recent years from a number of scandals that resulted in a rescue by a group of hedge funds.

Co-operative Bank’s net interest income fell to £266.9 million in 2020 from £310 million in 2019.

Co-operative Bank CEO Nick Slape said: “Thanks to the commitment and co-operative values of our colleagues, we end the year having delivered a resilient financial performance that is in line with our plan at this stage in our transformation, and having completed a number of key milestones including separation of IT systems from the Co-op Group, improved digital journeys for our customers, and the issuance of £200m of MREL-qualifying debt.

“We have met or exceeded the financial performance guidance targets we set ourselves in 2020 and our progress positions us well for a return to profitability in the near future and to continue supporting customers as we move through and beyond this global crisis.

“The performance in mortgages and the continued growth of our SME franchise has been particularly pleasing, with net residential lending up 5% at improved margins and our SME business going from strength to strength.

“The transformation of our SME banking business has attracted new customers, meaning we now support over 90,000 small businesses, many of whom are charities, non-profit organisations and co-operatives.

“We continue to improve the service we offer SME customers, delivering our Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) investment plan, with new credit card and savings products, and more to come in 2021, including a new mobile app and same day on-boarding for new customers.

“As we face into continued difficult times for many people and businesses, we remain committed to providing the support required as well as continuing to make a positive impact on the environment and the world around us.

“This matters now more than ever and we are proud of our record as a beyond carbon neutral bank since 2007, saying no to financing fossil fuels and companies with a poor environmental impact, together with the values and ethics of the co-operative movement that sit at our heart.

“As we look to the future, our commitment to ethical banking will remain central to our strategy, and we intend to link part of executive pay to ESG targets from 2022 onwards.”