Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds Building Society mortgage lending jumps 35%

Mortgage lending at Leeds Building Society jumped by more than a third last year despite a "challenging" economy, its annual results have shown.

The value of new home loans increased by 35% to £1.65bn in 2012, the UK's fifth largest building society said.

That included £497m of lending to 5,700 first-time buyers.

The society also attracted 61,000 new members during the year, taking its total membership to a record figure of 696,000.

Meanwhile, savings balances grew by £384m to £7.74bn, an increase of 5%, and pre-tax profits rose by 4% to £52.4m from £50.2m in 2011.

'Pressure on budgets'

Chief executive Peter Hill said: "Leeds Building Society has again delivered a strong set of financial results, continued to grow market share and achieved a record performance in both the mortgage and savings markets."

He acknowledged mortgage volumes had been supported by the Bank of England's Funding for Lending scheme, launched by the government last summer to stimulate lending.

"Economic conditions remain challenging, maintaining the pressure on household budgets," Mr Hill said.

Despite these "headwinds", the proportion of residential mortgage arrears reduced from 3.23% in 2011 to 2.89%.

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