[T]he Cumberland today announced its annual results for the year ended 31 March 2017.
The region’s largest financial organisation has enjoyed another very successful year, underpinned by strong mortgage lending and a growth of over £90 million in mortgage balances, together with a record inflow of over £118 million into savings and current accounts. Underlying profit after tax in the year was £14.82 million, an increase of over 17% on the previous year and a result which sees the Cumberland remain one of the most successful building societies in the UK. The year’s profit was positively impacted by a one-off gain of £4.85 million from the sale of the Society’s share in Visa Europe, meaning the group profit after tax was £19.67 million.
The competitiveness of the Cumberland’s mortgage range was again recognised by Mortgage Finance Gazette, with the accolade of ‘Best Regional Building Society’ awarded to the Society for the third year in a row. Furthermore, two independent surveys of over 23,000 people conducted by Fairer Finance, an industry consumer group, found the Cumberland’s banking customers to be the ‘Happiest in the UK’ in Autumn 2016 and again in Spring 2017.
A number of significant developments to the Group’s digital services were also undertaken during the year. In December 2016, an online appointment booking system was launched – an easy to use and convenient service which allows users to arrange an appointment at the branch of their choice; and new websites were introduced across the Group in September 2016, designed to work effectively on all mobile, tablet and desktop platforms.
2016 saw the retirement of the Society’s chairman, Michael Pratt, after 9 years in the role. His successor, Trevor Hebdon, was appointed in September. Commenting on the year’s results, he said, “It has been a great honour to succeed Michael as chairman of the Cumberland, and I am delighted to report a set of extremely positive results in my first year in the role. Our achievements are the combination of a solid and sustainable business model, the hard work, skill and enthusiasm from our team and an approach which puts our customers first in everything we do. In a market generally dominated by huge corporate banks, the Cumberland stands as a meaningful alternative, helping people across our region manage their money and buy their homes by providing great value financial products and exceptional customer service.”
The Cumberland continued to support its local communities during the year with donations of more than £100,000 to a range of community and charitable projects. It has also pledged to donate 50p for each vote received at its 2017 Annual General Meeting, with the total donation to be split between The Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland for their work within the Society’s operating area.