Portman celebrates year of growth

Amanda Jarvis

February 1, 2005

Key Achievements:
– Growth in total assets of 10% to £15.5 billion
– Profit before tax up 16% to £78.1 million
– Management expenses ratio of 0.77%
– New mortgage lending of £3.6 billion, up 24%
– Successful integration of The Staffordshire
– Mortgage and general insurance regulation implemented
– Launch of Portman Direct

Commenting on the figures, Portman chief executive Robert Sharpe said, “2004 was a year of challenges and triumphs for the Group and I am pleased to report another record set of annual results. We have continued to demonstrate our objective to thrive as a mutual by delivering consistent and fair value to our growing membership base through our products and services. Whilst delivering these benefits and growing the business, we have also maintained cost efficiency and are prudent in our risk management.

“We successfully achieved the implementation of compliant systems in readiness for mortgage and general insurance regulation without compromising on growth or customer service, and we will continue to develop our core systems to improve our products and services even further.

“Following our ground-breaking merger with The Staffordshire at the end of 2003, we had a clear objective to integrate the two operations in order to deliver the benefits of the merger – I am pleased to report that this process is on track and the initial stages of this integration have now been successfully achieved.

“2005 will present its own challenges to the industry, the most immediate being the slowdown in the housing market. Despite this, I am confident that Portman Building Society will continue to develop as a highly successful, independent and dominant force in the building society sector and in the financial services industry as a whole”, Sharpe concluded.

Business Highlights:

New mortgage volumes were at £3.6 billion were 24% up on 2003. The Group took an aggressive approach to lending during the first half of the year enabling it to manage the necessary systems changes in the second half in preparation for mortgage regulation. The Group also continued to be active in lifetime mortgages, with its market-leading product taking a 6% market share of business written.

Savings and investments
During 2004, the Society continued to grow its retail share balances, which increased by £738 million. This was achieved through the continued value of existing products and the launch of a number of new accounts including:
– Classic Gold (a 60 day notice account) and Signature Gold (a new cheque book account)
– Third and fourth issues of the Bonus Extra 75 day notice account
– Rollover Bond with a market-leading rate
– Guaranteed Equity Bond providing a low risk opportunity to benefit from gains in the stock market

The Mortgage Works
During 2004, the Society completed the final phase of the integration of The Mortgage Works, moving all its operations to Bournemouth. The Mortgage Works is the Group's specialist mortgage lender, providing a presence in the non-conforming lending market, generating additional profits for the core member business. Lending volumes significantly exceeded the target for the year, increasing some 47% over 2003, and profits increasing to £17.3 million.

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