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2021 Annual Report and Accounts

30th March 2022

LEEK UNITED BUILDING SOCIETY DELIVERS STRONG FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE AND HIGH MEMBER SATISFACTION IN 2021 WHILE INVESTING MORE THAN EVER BEFORE IN NEW TECHNOLOGY, BRANCHES AND COMMUNITY SERVICES.

TOTAL ASSETS INCREASED TO A RECORD LEVEL OF £1.18 BILLION.

Key highlights:

  • Pre-tax profit of £3.6m, a significant increase from £0.9m in 2020 and higher than had been projected. Underlying profit¹ grew to £2.5m from £1.2m.
  • Gross mortgage lending of £174m, an increase of £13m on the prior year.
  • Savers increased their investments by more than £48m as total assets increased to a record £1.18 billion.
  • Capital and liquidity levels remained robust, well above regulatory requirements, supporting the future development of the business.
  • Financial results were attained notwithstanding a record level of investment of more than £1m in digital technology, branches and community services.
  • For the fourth consecutive year, Leek United was awarded Best Variable Rate Mortgage Lender at the national Personal Finance Awards.
  • Customer satisfaction levels remained high at 95%, recognising the Society’s provision of exceptional service throughout the pandemic.
  • The Society donated more than £60,000 to charities and community causes and recently established a charitable foundation.
  • Staff satisfaction has never been higher with 9 out of 10 staff proud to work for the Society and happy to recommend Leek United as a great place to work.
  • Having been a winner in 2020, Leek United was a double finalist in the prestigious annual CIPD awards in 2021. The Society was also accredited by the Good Business Charter which measures a range of responsible business practices.

Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and notwithstanding a record level of investment in technology, branches and community services, Leek United Building Society achieved a strong set of financial results in 2021. While profit was well up, the Society does not seek to maximise profits but to achieve a level of profitability that is sufficient to balance member value with the need to have a robust capital position to fund future investment in its business. The improvement in performance was due to a number of factors including lower provision for credit losses, better net interest margin and the careful management of pricing more broadly while ensuring members were offered competitive, value for money products at all times.

Total assets increased to a record level of £1.18 billion. The Society’s gross mortgage lending increased to £174m (2020 £161m) which contributed to its total mortgage book of £869m (2020 £864m). The Leek continued to be very strongly funded by its members through a broad range of savings products, with member balances growing by £48m during the year. The quality of the Society’s mortgage book remained robust with a low number of mortgages in arrears.

The level of capital held at year end was well in excess of the amount required to meet regulatory requirements and very importantly, positioned the Society to continue to invest in its future competitiveness and sustainability.

A record level of investment of more than £1m was expended with significant progress made on delivering the Leek’s digital ambitions which involve providing secure, member-centric online savings and mortgage solutions. Testing is currently taking place for a new online savings platform which represents a big leap forward for the Society, while there are plans to add mortgage functionality over the course of the next year.

Branches are receiving investment also and the Society has emphasised that digital technology is being introduced to complement rather than replace its branch and other areas of support for members. A rolling programme of investment in all branch premises started in 2021 with the refurbishment of the Leek’s flagship branch on Derby Street in Leek and continued with its branch in Uttoxeter which is due to re-open its doors on 4 April. As this programme rolls out, the Society is taking the opportunity, in line with its environmental commitments, to make positive changes to ensure that waste control, lighting and other utilities are from renewable sources and are as kind to the environment as possible.

Leek United’s commitment, competitiveness and high standards were recognised again during 2021. For the fourth consecutive year, the Society was awarded Best Variable Rate Mortgage Lender at the national Personal Finance Awards. Having been a winner in 2020, Leek United was a double finalist in the prestigious annual Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) awards in 2021. Further independent recognition of the Society’s high standards came from its accreditation by the Good Business Charter which measures a range of responsible practices including diversity and inclusion, environmental responsibility, employee wellbeing and commitment to customers.

A core part of the Society’s mission is to make a positive difference to local communities. This community focus was seen through continued fundraising efforts during 2021, with over £60,000 raised for local good causes. The Leek also partnered with AEDdonate to install multiple Automated External Defibrillators across its heartland counties. And perhaps most notably, the Society recently established a charitable foundation which will provide grants to local charities and community groups.

Following an exceptional year, Chief Executive Andrew Healy expressed great satisfaction with the Leek’s achievements and extended deep gratitude to the Society’s staff, saying “Given the prevailing Covid-19 backdrop, the progress made is extremely satisfying and reflects extraordinarily well on our entire team of staff who have had to dig deep to provide our usual high standard of service. I simply cannot praise their efforts enough. We together finished 2021 with improved financial results and a stronger capital base while at the same time we significantly advanced our investment in technology, capability and infrastructure which will support our business, members and partners over the generations to come.”

The 159th Annual General Meeting of Leek United Building Society will be held at 12 noon on Wednesday, 27 April 2022 at Leek Cricket Club, Macclesfield Road, Leek.

To view our 2021 Annual Report & Accounts, please click here.

To view our 2021 Business Review and Summary Financial Statement, please click here.

 


¹ The surplus before tax achieved from trading activity during the financial year excluding fair value movements resulting from hedging activity. The Society uses derivative instruments which are held to maturity to hedge interest rate risk from fixed rate mortgages. Any gains or losses arising from fair value movements reflect timing differences which do not affect the underlying cash flows. As a result, they are excluded from the Society’s underlying profit or loss.

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