Leeds confident on outlook of the market

Jake Carter

February 26, 2020

Leeds Building Society are taking a confident outlook on the market, despite its results in 2019.

The building society noted profit before tax at £88m in 2019, a decline from £116.9 in 2018.

The lender cites a fair value charge of £19.7m under international accounting rules, as the fundamental reason behind the reduction.

Meanwhile, the society says that it has been upgrading its IT systems and fitting out its new head office in central Leeds.

Furthermore, the firm intends to implement a mortgage hub, which will be integrated through 2020.

Richard Fearon (pictured), chief executive Leeds Building Society, said to Mortgage Introducer that he has confidence in the market and expects to see mortgage technology progress.

Fearon continued by saying that the mortgage hub will reduce the application process time from 60 minutes, to 20.

He added that it will also cut out a large portion of the paper-based steps in the process.

In addition, Fearon said that he plans to “innovate into new segments”, he explained that he would like to offer borrowers more options in the market.

Looking to government schemes for first-time buyers, Fearon outlined shared ownership as the quintessential offering.

He said that the scheme is over 40 years old, and therefore has shown reliance within the marketplace and is evidently effective.

Fearon believes that rather than the government splitting its funding, it should focus on shared ownership and pool its money into this scheme over alternatives.

On a more general basis, Fearon said: “Last year we carried on paying above the market average on savings and our net mortgage lending approached £1bn.

“However, high levels of borrower refinancing translated into lower mortgage income, without an equivalent reduction in funding costs, and has suppressed net interest income.

“Prudent use of our profits has bolstered the society’s established financial security and strong capital position, with CET1 and total capital ratios of 33.6% and 41.0%, respectively.

“These are among the strongest risk-based measures of any UK bank or building society and underpin our ongoing investment, so we’re fit for the future and stay relevant, responsive and secure for existing and new members, and our broker partners.”

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