Newcastle Building Society assets rise to £4.9bn

Andrew Haigh

Newcastle Building Society said on Friday its assets grew 11% to £4.9 billion in 2020 and it attracted 6,000 new branch customers, helping to growing its savings book by £376 million.

Newcastle has 30 branches across the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire and employs more than 1,200 people.

Gross mortgage lending for the year was £645 million.

Operating profit before impairments and provisions was stable at £16.4 million but “as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on the economic environment” impairments and provisions soared to £14.4 million from £1.6 million.

Group profit before tax was £2 million for the year, compared to £14.7 million for 2019.

Total operating income increased 6% to £79.2 million in 2020.

The Society’s net interest margin reduced to 0.87% from 0.91% in 2019 “reflecting the competitive nature of the mortgage market.”

Net interest income increased by £3.3 million to £40.2 million “due to the reduction in the Bank of England base rate and the fall in mortgage yields in comparison to the fall in savings rates.”

The group’s capital ratios remain “robust” with Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of 14.1% (2019: 13.9%) and Tier 1 ratio of 14.4% (2019: 14.3%).

“The Society continued its focus on core residential lending while winding down legacy portfolios,” said Newcastle Building Society CEO Andrew Haigh.

“The net increase in customer loans and advances was £183m overall in 2020 and included a £228m net increase in core residential, of which £57m was in buy to let and £45m was in respect of a reduction in our non-core legacy mortgage portfolio.”