UCB Home Loans yesterday released figures for the financial year to March 31 2004.
The year-end figures reveal that net advances increased by 39% to a record £718m. Gross mortgage lending reached a record £1.9bn, up 19%, total mortgage assets were up 17% to £4.8bn and pre-tax profit, at £50.9m, remained similar to last year.
Arrears are at an all-time low of 3.73%. Out of a total of 48,400 borrowers, only eight properties are in possession. Buy-to-let accounted for 23% of total lending during the year, and it nowrepresents 15% of the total book.
UCB Home Loans managing director Charles Reed says: “We had an exceptionally good year and gross advances are now 16 times higher than the £120m lent in 1995/96, when Nationwide purchased the company.”
Reed adds: “In the past five years, mortgage assets have increased by £3.1bn and pre-tax profit has risen by 455%. As expected, profit remains steady as we plough more into improving the competitiveness of the product range and make investments in new systems of regulatory control. The increasing attractiveness of our product range has contributed towards a significant improvement in client retention over the past year, with net advances increasing by over 39% – more than twice the rate of increase in gross lending.
“Our lending to self-employed borrowers and other people on multiple or variable incomes has grown substantially in the nine years since Nationwide purchased the business. There are around 3.2 million people in the UK who class themselves as self-employed, accounting for about 11.5% of the workforce. However, the wider market of contract workers and small business owners – those who may fall into the target area for self-certification mortgages – now stands at 10 million people.”