Ipswich Building Society hails successful return to the mortgage market

The Ipswich Building Society's head office, Freehold House, at The Havens, Ipswich

The Ipswich Building Society's head office, Freehold House, at The Havens, Ipswich - Credit: Contributed

Ipswich Building Society says it it well set for further growth after reporting increased annual profits, despite a past year “punctuated by periods of change”.

Sarah Evans, chairman of the Ipswich Building Society.

Sarah Evans, chairman of the Ipswich Building Society. - Credit: Archant

The society’s profit before tax for the year to November 30, 2016, rose to £2.6m, from £2.5m the previous 12 months (the figures for which have been restated in line with new accounting standards).

Mortgage assets grew by £23m to £477m, with last year seeing a successful return by the society to active marketing in the lending market following a pause during 2015 as a result of IT changes and new lending regulations.

Savings balances grew by £17m to £541m, helped by the launch of an “innovative new savings range, based on market conditions and meeting the needs and lifestyles” of members.

Ipswich Building Society chairman Sarah Evans said last year had seen a range of changes, both external and internal, ranging from Britain’s vote for Brexit to the retirement of Paul Winter after nearly 10 years as the society’s chief executive.

Paul Winter, left, former chief executive of Ipswich Building Society, with his successor, Richard N

Paul Winter, left, former chief executive of Ipswich Building Society, with his successor, Richard Norrington.

“2016 was punctuated by periods of change and adjustment which the society has ably dealt with, proving resilience and a strong foundation which will continue to enable future growth and the protection of our mutual status,” she said.

“External events, including the EU referendum, have brought new focus on the mortgage market and household finances in general and we have recognised the need to remain responsive around our members’ changing circumstances, to continue providing our intermediaries with high quality service and to maintain our strong links with the communities we serve.”

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Around 80% of mortgage business last year was generated through brokers, with the total number of mortgage applications processed by the society jumping from 617 in 2015 to 1,011, including 113 to self-build borrowers.

The society also continued to use its expertise in manual underwriting to support “mortgage misfits”, would-be borrower who often find themselves locked out of the mainstream mortgage market as a result of non-standard income streams

In contrast with closures announced by a number of banks and building societies, the Ipswich is continuing to event in its branch network, with plans to open a new flagship branch in Princes Street, Ipswich, to be known as Mutual House.

The society also maintained its commitment to local communities last year, including support for the Pigs Gone Wild art trail in Ipswich, financial education for children and adults in schools, colleges and prisons and 1,134 hours of volunteering by its employees.