Record mortgage results at Leeds & Holbeck

Leeds & Holbeck, the UK&#39s eighth largest building society, has announced record half-year results across all areas of its business.

The society recorded a 77% increase in mortgage applications to £1.1bn &#45 a greater total than the amount recorded for the whole of 2001. Mortgage completions were up 43% to a record £529m.

There was a 14% increase in pre-tax profits to a record £16.9m. More records were set in Other Income, which experienced a 22% increase to a record £9.5m. A £55m rise in investment took balances to a record £3.2bn, while reserves increased £11.7m to a record £270m.

The interest margin of 1.21% is one of the lowest of any building society or bank and generated better rates for members worth more than £15m during the half year compared to the average for banks.

Leeds & Holbeck remains highly efficient with a cost asset ratio of just 81p – one of the lowest of any bank or building society

Ian Ward, chief executive, says: “Our record results for the first six months of 2002 again demonstrate that being an efficient modern mutual is the best way to serve our members and achieve outstanding business results.

“Mortgage applications in the six month period were a massive £1.1bn. This was higher than the total for the whole of last year.

“The Society&#39s strong financial position improved even further with the reserves rising to £270m as a result of the record pre-tax profits of £16.9m.

“Our non-interest income growth of 22% to £9.5m was an outstanding achievement highlighting our ability to sell other financial products including general insurance, life assurance and for the first time our new credit card – which attracted 12,000 applications from its launch in March.

“Our savings balances rose to a new record level of £3.2bn with investors realising the benefit of capital security and competitive interest rates in the current turbulent times on world financial markets.

“Our excellent asset quality is demonstrated by our very low level of arrears which reduced even further during the half year. Whilst house price inflation remains strong, we have again taken a cautious approach by increasing our general provision by £2m in line with the amount set aside during the last half year.

“Currently, there is no sign of our business slowing and we are well placed to meet the challenging market conditions that may emerge.”