Profits jump for the West Brom

The West Bromwich Building Society enjoyed a jump in pre-tax profits for its latest financial year.

Chief executive Jonathan Westhoff
Chief executive Jonathan Westhoff

They were up from £4.7 million in 2020-2021 to £23.2m for the year to the end of March.

New mortgage lending was down on the previous year from £784m to £756m for the 173-year-old society, which is the seventh largest in the UK.

It said 54 per cent of loans for house purchase were to support first-time buyers on to the property ladder compared to 48 per cent in 2020-2021.

The West Brom, which has more than 30 branches in the Black Country, Birmingham, Shropshire and Wales, rewarded savers with rates that were, by the end of the year, more than three times the average rates paid by the market.

Chief executive Jonathan Westhoff said: "After an extended period of uncertainty, we report our results today under more ‘normal’ circumstances. Supporting the financial wellbeing of our members has underpinned our decision making throughout the pandemic and will remain at the fore as we navigate the economic impacts of the actions taken to manage the economy throughout the last two years and now the effects of the invasion by Russia of Ukraine."

He said that throughout the past few years, the West Brom had remained guided by its mutual ethos and purpose – supporting the financial wellbeing of members by providing safe and good returns on the savings they entrusted with the society and promoting home ownership through responsible lending.

The West Brom received £900m in new applications for mortgages compared to £1.2 billion a year earlier.

"Although the housing market remained buoyant and competitive throughout the year, the downside consequences of this tend to affect those seeking to purchase their first home, as price inflation makes affordability more challenging, and can further marginalise other borrowers who do not fit the standard mortgage market offerings.

"That’s why it’s pleasing to report that more than half of all new home purchase lending was for first-time buyer," added Mr Westhoff.

In March the society offered an initial 11 homes to the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme as a way to support those fleeing the conflict. The homes are a mix of accommodation located above branches and from West Bromwich Homes, the society’s rental subsidiary.

"We are looking to add further homes to the scheme where availability allows. We have also been returning the £350 ‘Thank You’ payment to the refugees by providing essentials like furniture, appliances, clothing, toiletries, fuel and food to those living in our accommodation. Whilst we cannot begin to imagine what these refugees have been through, we felt this was one way we could use the society’s purpose to support them," said Mr Westhoff.

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