Nationwide: Results for the six months to 4 October 2003

Amanda Jarvis

November 20, 2003

Financial highlights
* Pre-tax profit up 22.2% to £188.4 million (October 2002: £154.2 million).
* Total assets up 19% to £93.9 billion (October 2002: £78.9 billion).
* Strong solvency ratio at 11.4% (October 2002: 11.0%).
* Gross capital up 23.6% to £5.5 billion (October 2002: £4.4 billion).
* The ratio of costs to mean total assets down to 0.96% and on course for a reduction for the 15th successive year.

Business highlights
* Net advances up 159% to £7.5 billion (October 2002: £2.9 billion).
* During the half year Nationwide has taken a 15.7% share of net advances, nearly double our par share of 7.9%.
* Mortgage retention levels are the best of any high street lender with redemptions at 1.7 percentage points below our par share of 7.9%.
* Mortgage arrears down 10% from October 2002.
* Credit card openings up 61%.
* Current account openings up 25%.
* Commercial balances £11 billion, an increase of 11%.
* Members have benefited by an estimated £272 million in the half year through better interest rates and lower charges (October 2002: £245 million).

Philip Williamson, chief executive said: “This has been an excellent six months for the Society. Customers are coming to Nationwide in record numbers, and staying with us because of our fair pricing policies. Our performance proves that a well run mutual can put members first by pricing products fairly and still generate a healthy level of profit.

“Our mortgage performance has been exceptional. We have been equally successful at retaining existing customers and attracting good quality new mortgage business. Net advances of £7.5 billion, a 15.7% market share, provides clear evidence that treating all of our mortgage customers fairly is definitely paying off.

“We have placed a strong focus on improving business efficiency and ensuring members have easy access to our products and services. Our online business has been a particular success story. Around 10% of all sales are now online and 29% of overdraft applications are made online, freeing branch staff from routine administration and enabling them to spend more time with members. In addition to offering consumers more choice in how they access Nationwide's services, conducting business online enables us to keep control of costs while increasing business volumes.

“While mortgage business has been strong, we have not forgotten savers. Nationwide is the UK's third largest savings provider. Over the past six months we have launched a range of attractive bonds for savers and increased the upper savings limits on our e-savings account. We also recently became the first to announce across the board increases for savers and, as a result, two million of our customers will benefit from interest rate rises twice the rise in the base rate.

“Nationwide is making a real difference in the market by campaigning on issues such as credit card transparency and advance notification of fees at cash machines. These are issues that affect all consumers.

“There is no doubt that Nationwide is punching above its weight and is really championing the consumer's cause.”

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