Principality grows mortgages to £4.8bn

Overall the Wales-based society made a profit of £53.5m from £28.2m before tax and increased its assets to £7.3bn from £7.1bn.

Graeme Yorston, Principality’s group chief executive, said: “In 2014, we have built on our core principles of providing a safe home for our customers’ savings and helping people to buy their homes, whilst continuing to deliver strong customer service.

“This has resulted in the society being named the most recommended savings provider in Wales for the second year running.

“The last 12 months has been a story of strong growth for the society, keeping our strategy firmly on track and always keeping the member at the heart of the business to ensure long-term benefits for them and the communities in which we live and work.”

2014 was an eventful year for the society, which sold off Peter Alan estate agents for £10.5m and opened its 71st outlet in Wales.

It also helped more than 2,300 first-time buyers get onto the property ladder, up from 1,800 in 2013.

The society’s secured lender Nemo Personal Finance saw its profits decrease to £13.9m in 2014 from £16.4m in 2014, however its commercial arm Principality Commercial returned to profit.

Looking ahead, Yorston added: “The UK economy is showing increasing signs of a sustainable recovery but the wider market in Europe and beyond is still showing levels of uncertainty.

“That said, I expect continued growth in the UK and increased employment.

“Wages have started to rise more rapidly than prices and interest rates have now been at 0.5% for more than five years allowing the economy time to recover and grow.

“For us at Principality we hope that 2015 will see further opportunity for us to grow and demonstrate the value of our mutual model, whilst continuing to be prudent to ensure we can invest in our business to meet our customers’ needs and those of our future generations of customer."