Leeds Building Society doubles profit, walks away from second homes market

The country’s fifth-largest building society says gross lending lifted by 25% to £2.5bn over the period, while net lending doubled to £1.2bn in the first half to 30 June. Both of these lending figures were record half-year amounts for the firm. The business also benefited from a £42m exceptional fair value adjustment in the period.

It adds that nine of its 10 biggest lending days ever occurred in the period, leading to its highest number of completions in the first half of a year.

Leeds Building Society chief executive Richard Fearon also says the mutual will walk away from the second home market.

Fearon says: “We’ve taken the decision to withdraw from lending on second homes. Second homes reduce the number of properties available to live in and we want to direct more of our efforts to other sectors, especially first-time buyers.”

He adds: “Developing and future-proofing our operations helps us to carry on doing what we do best, meeting consumer need with product innovation, such as launching mortgages that incentivise greener homes.

“Work is ongoing to increase online functionality and capacity for savings members and this remains a key focus over the coming months to ensure our savings processes are simpler and quicker to use.

This should deliver benefits like those seen since upgrading our mortgage systems – Mortgage Hub, our online mortgage platform, is now capable of processing applications from intermediaries in as little as 11 seconds and further enhancements are planned.”

The mutual added that its membership grew to 815,000, including 9,000 new members who joined as FTBs. Its savings balances grew by more than £1bn, to £16.4bn from £15.3bn in December.