Skipton unveil 2019 results

Jessica Nangle

February 26, 2020

Skipton Building Society saw a 10.3% increase in its mortgage balances since the end of 2018 according to its latest financial results.

Gross mortgage lending was up 13.1% to £4.9bn, whilst underlying profits before tax reached £155.2m which is down from £186.6m recorded in 2018.

The mortgages and savings division reported underlying profits before tax of £103.9m.

Total profit before tax was £153.2m, with the decrease in total group profits was reportedly due to the fall in underlying profits.

This total includes fair losses of £3.4m relating to the society’s legacy equity release portfolio which was acquired on merger with Scarborough Building Society in 2009 and has a balance at the end of 2019 of £410m.

David Cutter, group chief executive at Skipton, said: “This is a solid and balanced performance which has seen us increase our membership and increase our mortgage and our savings balances at rates above our natural market share, despite a subdued housing market and highly competitive mortgage market.

“In the face of a challenging operating environment, Skipton has continued to deliver first class service and value to its members.

“We have continued to invest in our business for the benefit of current and future members, we have launched an app for our customers, which saw 100,000 registrations during the year, and we have made some major changes to our financial advice offering, making it more personal, affordable and straightforward and hence accessible and relevant to more people.

“Since 1853, our purpose has been to help more people into homes and save for their future.

“Our strong capital position and diversified business has enabled us to continue to successfully and sustainably deliver for our members today and we are well positioned to do so in the future.”

The group’s net residential UK mortgage lending accounted for 4% of the growth in the UK residential mortgage market, compared to a 1.3% share of UK residential mortgage balances.

Almost 30,000 homeowners were helped by the society to purchase or remortgage their properties, including 5,923 first-time buyers and 7,878 of buy-to-let borrowers.

Last year also saw success in attracting LISA customers to the Society, bringing the total number of LISA customers to 158,850, up from 129,707 in 2018.

The group’s UK residential mortgages in arrears by three months or more represent only 0.25% of mortgage accounts which compares to an industry average of 0.72%.

In addition the society signed the Women in Finance Charter during the year, and for the first time was named in the Sunday Times 25 Best Big Companies to Work For.

Cutter added: “In a challenging operating environment, with intense competition and ultra-low interest rates, these results are solid and reflective of a balanced performance.

“I’m proud that we have continued to increase our membership and increase our mortgage and savings balances at rates above our natural market share, whilst remaining relevant to new and existing customers and offering them great experiences with Skipton.

“After stagnation and political impasses following the Brexit referendum, the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, however negotiations over future arrangements will shortly commence and are likely to mean significant uncertainty for the foreseeable future.

“Whilst the economic environment remains uncertain we start in a good place to face the coming years, with high customer satisfaction levels, leading employee engagement scores and being well-capitalised.

“We anticipate the factors influencing interest margins to continue in 2020 and, whilst we are responding to these in a number of ways, we expect to see reduced profitability.

“The society does however remain in a strong position, with strong capital and liquidity ratios, healthy and sustainable growth seen in mortgage and savings balances and strong underlying profitability, further strengthened by subsidiary earnings.

“We remain vigilant regarding potential economic headwinds and we are well placed to manage the risks that we may face and to capitalise upon any opportunities that may arise for the benefit of our members.”

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