Leeds Building Society savings balances top £15bn

Leeds Building Society CEO Richard Fearon

Leeds Building Society — the UK’s fifth-largest mutual — said its gross lending reaching a record £4.4 billion in 2021 as it delivered record profit before tax of £163.7 million.

“Growth in lending was aided by an increase in savings balances to top £15.25bn (£14.2bn 2020), as the Society maintained its support for savers by consistently paying above the market average savings rate, which equates to an annual benefit of more than £71m to its saving members …” said the mutual.

Leeds said it helped more than 20,000 first time buyers get into the housing market.

The society increased its capital and reserves to £1.46 billion from £1.35 billion in 2020, well above the regulatory requirement.

“2021 was a landmark year for Leeds Building Society and I’m incredibly proud of our successful performance, and all my colleagues have done for us to achieve this,” said CEO Richard Fearon.

“We delivered on our purpose by supporting the housing market, bringing home ownership within reach for record numbers of first time buyers and Shared Ownership purchasers.

“The Society broke so many records in 2021 – it was our busiest 12 months ever for mortgage applications and our biggest year for first time buyer lending, which accounted for almost one in three of all our new mortgages, another record.

“Our successful strategy for supporting customers less well served by the wider market saw us join the Government’s new First Homes scheme and complete the mortgages for its very first purchasers, and we remained active in Shared Ownership, winning further awards.

“With first time buyers in mind, we also launched a new Regular Saver account, ideal to start building up a deposit …

“The importance of giving great service to our members, and the role played by our branch network, was behind one of our two landmark moves in Leeds in 2021 – to our new Leeds Central branch in Commercial Street.

“The other move was leaving our historic Albion Street home for an award-winning new head office in Sovereign Street, which provides the room to unite office teams formerly split across three city centre sites.

“It’s modern and airy, with plenty of collaborative space to support our new hybrid ways of working, giving colleagues flexibility to be in the office when it’s most useful and make the connections which build our fantastic culture.

“We’re asking people to be in eight days each month and empowering them to choose how this works for their role.

“As our new headquarters are very environmentally friendly, being carbon neutral in operation, relocation also helped our commitment to cutting the Society’s carbon footprint.

“We’re making good progress against the challenging targets we’ve set ourselves to reduce the Society’s environmental impact and I’m pleased we were able to achieve carbon net neutral status for scope 1, 2 and 3 (business travel) emissions, more than a year ahead of plan.

“With our green mortgages and tree dedications for new children’s account openings, we’ve also taken a lead in linking our products to positive environmental action.”