Shropshire Star

Record year of home ownership lending for the West Brom

The West Bromwich Building Society, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary, delivered a record amount of home ownership lending in the year to the end of March.

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Chief executive Jonathan Westhoff

New mortgage lending was up from £700 million in 2022-2023 to £1.1 billion.

It included supporting 4,684 first-time buyers, an increase of nearly 40 per cent on the year.

Chief executive Jonathan Westhoff said: "Our strong performance of 2023-2024 was delivered despite the economic challenges and geo-political uncertainty. A combination of rising interest rates and high inflation has meant that cost of living pressures remain elevated, and the challenges facing prospective home buyers continue to be well-documented.

"This year has seen us hit a significant milestone, exceeding the £1billion level for new residential mortgage lending across the financial year an increase of 54 per cent year on year compared with a market fall of circa 27 per cent over the same period. This means that since April 2023, we've helped another 7,161 customers with their home ownership ambition, a 46 per cent increase from the previous financial year. For our savings customers, who provide the funding that enables us to help so many have the security of home ownership, we continue to provide value by delivering average interest rates that are 36 per cent above the market average – a measurable member benefit of £38.6m."

The annual pre-tax profit was up from £31.8m to £32.1m.

Mr Westhoff said: "We were delighted to achieve our ambition of being a £1bn lender this year, and what makes this even more impactful is knowing that 4,684 of purchase mortgages were for first-time buyers, with 38 per cent of these first-time buyers using shared ownership, a vital route for those that cannot yet afford a traditional route out of rental and into ownership.

"Enabling these members to become homeowners is a direct result of the savings deposited with us by our savers. This year we welcomed 10,250 new savers to the Society, attracting £570m in new savings, up 30 per cent on last year, through a highly competitive range of notice products, with ISA options to help our customers maximise their tax-free savings."

He added: "We now have a particularly momentous year ahead of us, as we celebrate 175 years of the society. It therefore feels fitting that, whilst we look back at our rich history, we also look ahead at how we can reshape our strategy to meet the evolving needs of our members. Over the coming year, and beyond, we'll bring to life the next generation of the West Brom for both our colleagues and our members, enhancing the society for the future whilst staying true to our purpose which underpins all that we do."

The West Bromwich Building Society Foundation was established in November with the primary aim of supporting local people and community causes that are aligned to the society's core purpose.

The society continues to work closely with a number of charities and good causes, on both a national and local scale, and hit the milestone of raising over £1m for the Birmingham Children's Hospital through the Red Balloon Appeal Account, which has been open to members for the last 16 years.

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