BSA reveals strong monthly figures

The figures revealed:

- Building society gross advances amounted to £3,512m in April 2006, up from £3,409m in April 2005

- Net advances were £1,106m in April 2006, versus £1,299m in April 2005

- Approvals were £4,248m in April 2006 up from £3,880m in April 2005

- Building societies had net inflows of £1,330m in April 2006 compared to £1,419m in April 2005

- Building society net receipts to cash ISAs were £1,452m in April 2006, compared to £1,553m in April 2005

Adrian Coles, director-general of the Building Societies Association, said: “The figures suggest that the mortgage market remains strong, as does the building society market share. Seasonally adjusted approvals in April were the second highest for over two years, while seasonally adjusted gross advances were higher than in any month of 2005. Concerns at the end of last year that the housing market would slow right down in 2006 now seem misplaced; instead it looks like we are in for a busy summer.”

On the savings side, Mr Coles said: “April’s savings figures show the usual massive inflow as people top up their ISAs right at the end of one financial year and at the beginning of the next. It is clear that cash ISAs from building societies remain extremely popular.”

Meanwhile, Matthew Bullock, chief executive of Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, has been elected chairman of the BSA for 2006 - 2007. He replaces Philip Williamson, chief executive of Nationwide Building Society, who has held the post for the past year.

Before becoming chief executive of Norwich and Peterborough in 1999, Matthew had a broad banking career spanning investment banking, credit risk management, retail banking and savings/investments, and corporate and high tech banking.

Bullock said: "I look forward to an interesting year. The impacts of Basel II and of the FSA's drive towards principles based regulation will require much fresh thinking - on the structure of the mortgage market and on a new compliance architecture.

"Key elements in the latter will be defining consumers', distributors' and producers' responsibilities in investment and lending markets; defining evidential provision in individual cases of complaint and in enforcement, and achieving all this in a way that lowers the costs of regulation. The contribution of mutual building societies to these debates will be important.

"I look forward to working with Adrian Coles and my Council colleagues on these issues.”

Iain Cornish, chief executive of Yorkshire Building Society, has taken over as deputy chairman from Matthew Bullock. Iain became chief executive of Yorkshire Building Society in 2003. He joined the Yorkshire in 1992, initially in a corporate planning role and thereafter held a variety of posts spanning marketing, product development, insurance, compliance and corporate affairs.