The West Brom sees a surge in mortgage applications

The West Bromwich Building Society has experienced a massive surge in mortgage applications during the coronavirus crisis in the UK.

West Bromwich Building Society chief executive Jonathan Westhoff
West Bromwich Building Society chief executive Jonathan Westhoff

Its mortgage lending is set to increase quite considerably in the second half of its financial year on the £248 million in the first six months to the end of September.

Chief executive Jonathan Westhoff said there had been a huge leap in applications of about 39 per cent to £563 million and there was a massive representation of first-time buyers in that.

Mr Westhoff said that during the first Covid-19 lockdown for a couple of months people were not able to complete applications and since then there had been thr massive increase.

"The pandemic has created a pipeline," he explained.

"It will have a dramatic impact on the second half of the financial year for us."

He has also pledged to ensure that existing mortgage customers who face losing jobs or cuts in their income due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic are protected.

"We will do everything we can to keep those people in their homes," he said.

The 171-year-old society has already offered up to a six-month payment holiday on mortgages, along with the whole mortgage sector.

Mr Westhoff stressed that the West Brom would continue to treat its customers as individuals.

"We will look at what is best for our borrowers and will work with them. This could involve further payment deferrals and all kinds of other things.

"We are well geared up to look after our customers in difficult times. That they stay in their homes is really important to us," he explained.

The West Brom has kept all its 36 branches open through the coronavirus crisis with just one closing for one day for a deep clean.

It did not take the steps of reducing pay or utilising the furlough scheme and maintained existing staffing levels.

"I am extremely proud of the efforts of all my colleagues, who have remained resolute in their determination to ensuring the society could continue to deliver its purpose. When considering the progress the society has made over the last decade to repair its balance sheet and deliver a strong capital position, this gives us the confidence that we will certainly weather the storm financially and, most importantly, continue to support both our current and future members.

"For the second half of the year, the outlook remains uncertain as we grapple with the ‘second wave’ of the pandemic, and second lockdown, despite the most recent optimism of a vaccine potentially improving the longer term outlook. That is why we will adapt and continue deliver the best service for both our saving and borrowing members and, crucially, be there for those who find themselves in financial difficulty as a result of this crisis," said Mr Westhoff.

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