Record lending at Yorkshire Building Society

Gross mortgage lending totalled £7.6bn and net lending reached £2.6bn while core operating profit grew to £178.8m. The Group also retained its strong capital position, increasing its total capital ratio to 16.1%.

Chris Pilling, Yorkshire Building Society Group’s chief executive, said: “I am delighted to report another set of strong financial results for the Group.

“These results reflect our qualities as a modern mutual. We offer customers long-term value and excellent service while strengthening our financial security and ability to invest for the future.

“Our passion for customers is reflected in the 34,800 mortgages we completed during the year - including a record 8,200 to first-time buyers - and the competitive return we provided savers which beat the market average.

“I am proud that in our 150th anniversary year we continued to deliver on the fundamental aims of our founding fathers – to help people save for the future and buy their own home. Further investment in our technology, digital capabilities and branch and agency network is designed to help us continue to deliver long-term value for our customers over the next 150 years too.

“We must acknowledge that, as well as delivering excellent products and service in 2014, we were fined twice by our regulator for previously letting customers down. We have apologised for our errors, taken action to fix those problems swiftly and decisively and reimbursed those affected, which demonstrates our absolute commitment to fair outcomes for customers.

“It is our customer-focussed approach that offers a real difference to consumers in a more competitive and diverse financial services market. However, we are frustrated that despite broad consensus on encouraging challenger institutions, there is little evidence of meaningful progress.

“The ongoing reviews into the current account market represent a unique opportunity to overcome the big banks’ self-interested resistance to change.

“The existing current account switching service has failed to tackle the dominance of the big banks and raise the quality of the current account market. The banks’ self-interested opposition to greater reform resulted in a seven-day switching service and since its introduction we believe only 3% of accounts have been switched.

“Switching your current account provider should be as easy as downloading an app to your phone. We urge the FCA and the new Payments Regulator to make this a top priority and commit within the next year to implementing full current account portability. Only then will consumers be able to benefit from a truly diverse financial services sector.”