Leeds Building Society balances hit record £19bn

Leeds Building Society said it enjoyed record savings inflows of £1.4 billion in the first half of 2023, taking total savings balances with the mutual to a record £19.1 billion.

More than 79,300 new members joined the society, taking total membership to a record 878,000.

Leeds, the UK’s fifth-largest mutual, increased its total assets to £26.9 billion (H1 2022: £24.1bn), the highest in the society’s history.

Profit before tax fell to £116.2 million from £146.5 million “supporting our ongoing commitment to reinvesting in the business and prioritising good value for members.”

Leeds hailed a “strong lending performance” in the first half with a total of £1.9 billion (H1 2022: £2.5bn) “including six of the 10 biggest days of lending in the society’s history and June its busiest ever month for shared ownership lending.”

Leeds said a record 49% of all its new borrowers were first time buyers.

Leeds Building Society CEO Richard Fearon said: “We’ve carried on lending across all market sectors and offering competitive savings accounts during a sustained period of economic volatility, seeing our membership climb to a new record.

“I’m proud of our continuing support for the affordable housing sector and the fact that nearly one in two of our new borrowers in the first six months of 2023 were first time buyers.

“After a long period at historic lows, interest rates have continued to rise with the effects felt by borrowers and savers alike, and we stand by both.

“As a business created to empower greater home ownership, we’ve stayed actively lending in a fast-changing market throughout 2023 and since March have accepted earlier applications for product transfers, giving existing borrowers six months before maturity to choose their new deal.

“We’ve moderated the impact of repeated Bank of England Base Rate rises by limiting increases in our standard variable rate and have worked hard to support borrowers facing financial difficulties with help tailored to their individual circumstances.

“Meanwhile for our savings members, we consistently pay above the average market rate, which equates to more than £90m extra in their pockets.

“In response to continuing Base Rate rises, we’ve passed on increases to all our variable rate member savings accounts in a sustainable way intended to offer fair value across our range.

“We continue to invest in member value, technology which improves service, and in our fantastic people – their dedication and commitment to the Society’s purpose gives me confidence for the future, however challenging times may be.

“We’ve been there for our members during tumultuous external events throughout our long history and our financial strength and security means we’ll continue to support them.”