Leeds Building Society savings deposits top £17bn

Leeds Building Society has reported its highest ever annual net savings inflow of £2.1 billion (2021: £1.0bn).

Total savings deposits have now passed £17.5 billion (2021: £15.25bn), a record high.

The Leeds said that after a decade of low interest rates in the UK, the society’s savings members started to benefit from rising interest rates.

It said it paid its savers an average interest rate 0.5% higher than the rest of the market average, which equates to an annual benefit of £80.5 million.

The society reported record gross mortgage lending of £5 billion in 2022 (2021: £4.4bn) and record net lending of £2 billion (2021: £1.5bn).

Leeds’ total mortgage assets now stand at £20.3 billion (2021: £18.3bn), a record high.

The society reported record total assets of £25.5 billion (2021: £22.5bn) and a record profit before tax of £220.5 million (2021: £163.7m).

The Leeds is the UK’s fifth largest building society.

The Leeds reported a record 839,000 members — 581,000 savings members, 252,000 mortgage members and 6,000 savings and mortgage members.

Last year the society helped nearly 18,000 first time buyers — around one in three of all its new loans.

Leeds Building Society CEO Richard Fearon said: “Our continued support for the housing market enabled us to surpass all previous lending records.

“We really delivered on helping to put home ownership within reach of more people with total mortgage lending of £5bn.

“We continued to offer strong support for customers less well served by the wider market despite the extremely volatile conditions we were operating in.

“Approximately one in three of all our mortgages went to first time buyers — helped by our decision to withdraw from lending on second homes to bolster our support for those yet to get on the property ladder.

“We are again backing our values with actions by extending our suspension of all mortgage arrears fees until at least the beginning of 2024.

“Our mutual status, which makes us ultimately answerable to our customers, enables us to go further in supporting our members when they need it most.

“After a decade of low interest rates in the UK, our savings members started to benefit from rising interest rates.

“By continuing to offer a competitive savings product range we saw record savings inflows into the society of £2.1bn.

“We consistently paid above the market average rate which resulted in £80.5m extra going into members’ pockets, in keeping with our mutual status and focus on members.

“The extra value that we give to our savers is especially important, particularly now as we face into a cost of living crisis.

“The past couple of years have been challenging for everyone and we face into what could be prolonged economic headwinds.

“It is now the hardest time to afford a home since our founding year in 1875, a sad reflection of decades of inaction to tackle the UK’s housing crisis.

“But we will continue to find ways we can help and put homeownership within reach of more people, just as we have for almost 150 years.”