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Mortgage lending stepped up by the West Brom

The West Bromwich Building Society has stepped up mortgage lending in its latest hal;f year.

Chief executive Jonathan Westhoff

In the six months to the end of September mortgage completions were up 66 per cent on a year earlier at £458 million.

New lending applications totalled £945m from £609m in the first half of 2022-2023.

It reflected the West Brom's focus on supporting people into home ownership.

Overall, net lending for owner-occupiers strengthened to £161.8m, contributing to growth in the mortgage book.

Lending for first-time buyers represented 62 per cent of lending for home purchase with 1,398 first-time buyers supported during the period up from 711 a year before.

The West Brom maintained its standard variable rate well below the industry average through the period. For a borrower at the West Brom, this equates to a saving of around £1,600 a year for each £100,000 borrowed compared with an average market SVR of 8.09 per cen1.

Savers were rewarded with rates that were on average, by the end of the six months, almost one-and-a-half times the average rates paid by the market.

The pre-tax profit figure was down from £18.1m to £13.6m

The society reached the milestone of £1 million raised for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the vast majority of which was raised through the generosity of members over the last 16 years via the Red Balloon Appeal account.

Jonathan Westhoff, chief executive, said: “We’re pleased to report another strong performance, despite the wider economic challenges that have persisted over the last six months. Stubbornly high inflation and volatility surrounding interest rates have created pressures within the market, throughout which we are proud to have supported our borrowers, whilst also ensuring our saving members receive excellent value.

"Rather than slowing down throughout this period of instability, we have increased our activity, invested further in our people and supported even more people on their route into home ownership. Indeed, September saw us record our biggest ever month of mortgage applications and, for our savers, over the six month period we have maintained rates one-and-a-half times the market average, rewarding them with an additional £39.1m of interest."

Mr Westhoff added: "At the core of our business is our desire to help first-time buyers into their own home (and remain there), and we’re pleased to have supported 1,398 people purchase their own home this half year."

"In a particularly active savings market, we are continuing to reward savers with good value products. Over the six months ended 30 September 2023 we’ve welcomed 3,372 new savers to the society, an increase of 21 per cent on the same period last year.

"We expect the market to remain uncertain for some time, as the elevated cost of living continues to impact the economy. A combination of our strong financial position and our overarching Purpose to help people own a home and save for the future, will guide us in supporting existing and future members through these unpredictable times," Mr Westhoff said.

The 174-year-old West Brom is the UK’s seventh largest building society.

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