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Record financial performance in a highly rounded year

21st March 2024

Winning Best Building Society at the British Bank Awards a highlight as 2023 sees profit, total assets, mortgage growth, savings balances, community support, member satisfaction and employee engagement all reach new highs while investment continues.

Leek Building Society has today issued its report and accounts for 2023, a year of more records and awards for the Staffordshire-based mortgage and savings provider which operates nationally. Underlying profit before tax increased by 28% to £6.4m, the highest in the Society’s history, notwithstanding significant investment in new technology, branch refurbishments and various community initiatives. This profit boosted capital reserves to record levels, supporting the Society’s ability to help members achieve their financial goals and to fund future investment in the business.

In addition, total assets reached £1.31 billion, driven by strong mortgage and savings growth as the Society supported members with competitive pricing throughout another fast-changing year which saw the Bank of England raise its base rate five times. Mortgage growth of 11% significantly outperformed the market with approximately one third of the year’s lending helping first time buyers to get on the property ladder. Savings balances increased by 9% as investors sought a good return on their hard-earned money.

Leek Building Society was named Best Building Society at the Smart Money People British Bank Awards 2023, an accolade which particularly recognised the Leek’s focus on providing outstanding customer service. This was backed up by customer reviews which saw overall Customer Satisfaction climb above 98%.

The Society also attracted national media attention when it won the UK CIPD award for health and wellbeing in recognition of its employee focus and culture which was further highlighted when it was named Employer of the Year by Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce.

Community support activities saw a record level of donations to local charities and community groups, a doubling of staff volunteering days and the commencement of an innovative programme to install 100 life-saving defibrillators in those areas where the Society has branches. 

Chief Executive, Andrew Healy said: While these results highlight our excellent financial health, what is most pleasing is the highly rounded nature of our performance. As a mutual, we don’t of course seek to maximise profits but it is in the interest of the Society’s long-term competitiveness and sustainability that sufficient profits are generated to maintain our financial resilience and to ensure there is ongoing investment in our business. Our mortgage and savings growth levels significantly outperformed the market evidencing the competitiveness of our offerings in challenging times and we’re hugely proud of the support we’ve provided to our members and colleagues throughout the cost-of-living crisis. We continued to invest in new technology during the year, strengthened our digital channels, completed our branch and head office refurbishment programmes and not only maintained but stepped up even further the high standards we set for ourselves in terms of risk management, customer service and culture. The future for our Society has never been brighter.” 

View our Annual Report and Accounts.

Supplementary Information

  • Leek Building Society’s Annual Report and Accounts and Members’ Review can be found here.
  • Total assets increased to a record level of £1.31 billion. £192m of gross mortgage lending contributed to the total mortgage book reaching £984m.
  • The Society continued to be very strongly funded by its members, with total balances at the end of 2023 of £1,097m, demonstrating the consistently competitive range of products on offer and the strong relationship between the Society and its members.
  • The Society’s mortgage book continues to be of high quality with below industry average arrears levels. Mortgages in arrears by the equivalent of three or more monthly repayments represented just 0.16% of total mortgage accounts (2022: 0.11%) at year end. The Society is extremely sensitive to the challenges the current economic environment poses for members and on its website, there are a range of helpful resources including who to speak to if they are struggling with their mortgage repayments, tips on ways to reduce bills and details of external agencies which offer free help and support. For residential mortgage holders specifically, there are details of the Mortgage Charter which helps borrowers who may be under financial pressure or who may be worried about making their repayments when their mortgage deal comes to an end. Leek Building Society was one of the first financial institutions to sign up to this charter which is a voluntary agreement drawn up by HM Treasury.
  • In terms of investment, 2023 saw the completion of the branch network refurbishment programme. All branches have now been upgraded to offer improved facilities, including more meeting points and ‘engagement zones’ for discussions about products and services. Furthermore, the development and testing work to implement a new mortgage platform has been completed and this will be rolled out in the first half of 2024, significantly improving the mortgage journey experience for new borrowers and broker partners.
  • The Society’s head office refurbishment was also completed during the year, thereby greatly enhancing the working environment for colleagues. Together with branches, all of the Society’s premises now present a modern, accessible and welcoming environment. In line with its broader environmental commitments, positive changes have concurrently been taken to ensure  waste control, lighting and other utilities are from renewable sources and are as kind to the environment as possible. Furthermore, The Society expanded its product set during the year to include Green Further Advance mortgages to support borrowers to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
  • In terms of staff satisfaction and culture, 97% of colleagues are proud to work for the Society – believing the Leek to be a great place to work with strong values and principles and a tremendous culture. As noted above, the Society won Best Health and Wellbeing Approach at the national CIPD People Management Awards and was named Employer of the Year at the Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce 2023 Awards.
  • The Leek Building Society Charitable Foundation has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2022. Between the Society and the Foundation, a record amount of almost £150,000 was donated to charities and community groups during 2023, in many cases directly helping those impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. Sponsorship of local sports clubs and organisations was also stepped up in order to support the health and wellbeing of the community.
  • Awards during the year included:
    • Winner, Best Building Society, British Bank Awards 2023
    • Winner, Best Building Society Savings Provider, British Bank Awards 2023
    • Winner, Best Health & Wellbeing Approach, CIPD People Management Awards 2023
    • Highly Commended, Best Culture, CIPD People Management Awards 2023
    • Winner, Employer of the Year, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Awards 2023
    • Finalist, Inspiring Workplaces Awards 2023 for UK, Europe and Middle East
    • Highly Commended, Best Variable Rate Mortgage Lender, Personal Finance Awards 2023/2024.
  • Leek Building Society continues to be accredited by the Good Business Charter, Living Wage Foundation and Disability Confident Scheme.
  • The 161st Annual General Meeting of Leek Building Society will be held at 6.30pm on Wednesday, 24 April 2024 at Port Vale Football Club. Further details can be found here.