Skipton balances rise to £26bn as profit tops £333m

Stuart Haire

The Skipton Group, which includes Skipton Building Society, estate agency Connells and other businesses, said its savings balances grew 15.4% to £26 billion in 2023 and profit before tax rose almost 12% to £333.4 million.

Skipton said its minimum variable savings rate increased from 1.75% to 3.25% at the year end. Its membership grew 8.1% to over 1.2 million.

The mutual hailed the launch of its Track Record mortgage, which it called “the only available deposit-free mortgage without the need for a guarantor; enabling those trapped in expensive rents to realise their homeownership aspirations.”

Skipton also highlighted its “highly competitive member benefit regular saver product paying an interest rate of up to 7.5%” and said that “with over 68,000 new accounts opened by members, we expect to pay more than £8m in interest on maturity.”

The mutual said: “Members benefitted by over £148m given through above market average savings rates – we paid 0.65% above the market average to our savers …”

The group reported £6.7 billion of mortgage advances in 2023, up 6.3% year-on-year.

The group also reported: ” … additionally £30.9bn of lending has been generated by Connells group for UK mortgage providers in 2023 (2022: £36.9bn) …

“Increased market share in mortgages – despite the UK mortgage market being stagnant for the majority of the year, group mortgage balances increased to £28.6bn, representing growth in market share of balances of c.13%.”

Skipton CEO Stuart Haire said: “It has been a transformative year for Skipton Building Society.

“Following the refresh of our strategy we have established a group structure (as opposed to a building society plus subsidiaries) which is aligned to our members’ needs; namely, financing their homes (Home Financing), making their money work harder (Money) and helping them buy and sell homes (Estate Agency, Connells group).

“We have also seen a greater involvement in our strategy and execution from our Jade Software business in New Zealand and ongoing strong performance from our International (Skipton International) and Commercial Finance (Skipton Business Finance) businesses.

“Where appropriate we have developed new strategies for these businesses and appointed new leadership, whilst refining our operating model to support even greater accountability, performance and agility. I believe these changes will enable us to deliver better outcomes for our members.

“Change like this is not always easy. However, our achievements only confirm why I wanted to join this business. I was drawn to our organisation by the history of its brands and its strong purpose – helping more people into homes, helping people save for life ahead and supporting long-term financial well-being. There is real energy around the group, and I am very proud to be a part of it.

“The group structure gives us a greater opportunity to give more to our members, where they need it most. It provides us with a diversified range of capabilities and enhanced financial strength.

“We have three compelling strategic priorities, centred on leveraging Skipton Group’s unique business mix, in order to help more people have a home, to make money work harder and to make membership matter.

“This year we have been braver, bolder and more innovative for our members and customers, with our well-regarded Track Record mortgage for rental prisoners (which is already helping hundreds of people), and our income booster product (Joint Borrower, Sole Proprietor) where friends and family can pool their finances to get a mortgage and a home.

“For savings members, we have launched highly competitive savings offers, including our member exclusive 7.5% regular saver in June. We have also offered free advice and free pension health checks for members, and a free EPC Plus survey to help improve the energy efficiency of our members’ homes.

“This has been achieved while maintaining our award-winning customer service, consistently ranking toward the top of cross industry customer service league tables; all thanks to the skills, care and empathy with which our customer facing colleagues engage our members.

“Through our focus on helping more people have a home and making money work harder, we have significantly grown market share in deposits and mortgages; whist maintaining our healthy share of the Estate Agency market and further growing our invoice finance and international mortgage businesses.

“Our lending now goes to more first-time buyers than ever (one in three of all loans advanced) and our savers are rewarded too, with our lowest rate on an instant access account beating the market average by some considerable distance. All this while further building out our capital and funding positions and upgrading our risk management skills and framework.

“This has not come by chance. This is down to the hard work, resilience and focus of colleagues, who I want to thank for the incredible work they do all day, every day.

“It is also thanks to our coverage and leadership position in the UK housing market; together with our unique position in the market afforded by our mutual ownership model, where we only answer to our members and customers and not to shareholders.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to step-up our support to members and customers through challenging times.

“Our ambition is to make a positive impact in order to tackle the UK’s housing crisis by enabling more first-time buyers to realise their homeownership aspirations – I believe the Skipton Group has great potential to drive transformative change in the UK housing market and financial services industry, leveraging our collective group capability.

“Our group brand will give us an elevated position to drive change, influence decision makers and a platform to campaign on the issues that matter to our members, our communities and wider society.

“We have an opportunity to add even more value through first-to-market products and excellent customer service that responds to real and changing societal needs.

“Our focus will continue on our three key priorities as we drive further value for our members and customers.

“We will develop new capability to support more people into homeownership and improve the customer journey for buying and selling homes, whilst continuing to grow our lettings business.

“We will also continue to invest more to ensure our members receive above-market interest rates for their savings and have access to free advice to help them plan their financial futures.

“Our role in helping more people onto the property ladder, enabling existing homeowners to improve energy efficiency, and providing opportunities for people to save and plan for the future is needed now more than ever.”