Cumbrian financial group The Cumberland has reported a £17.53 million rise in pre-tax profits and record levels of mortgage lending touching £500 million for the last financial year.
The Carlisle-headquartered company – which has 34 branches located throughout Cumbria, north Lancashire, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders – also saw a significant inflow of funds in to its savings and current accounts of more than £78 million for the year ending March 31, 2018.
The Cumberland said its commercial arm, estate agency and vehicle finance subsidiary, Borderway Finance, all made “exceptionally positive contributions” which, together with its building society activities, helped to deliver a “incredibly strong” set of results.
It now has assets of more than £2.5 billion, making it the UK’s 10th largest building society and Cumbria’s largest financial institution.
The Cumberland also picked up several industry awards during the year. These included double success at the Mortgage Finance Gazette awards, where it was named Best Regional Building Society for consistently competitive mortgage rates for the sixth time, and also scooped the Best Customer Service award for its customer service programme and work to protect vulnerable customers.
Its customers were also named the Happiest in the UK for the fourth year in a row in an independent survey by banking consumer group, Fairer Finance.
The year has also seen changes at the top with the appointment of a new chief executive, Des Moore, in April following the retirement of Kevin Parr after more than 15 years in the role.
The Cumberland’s chairman Trevor Hebdon, said: “I am delighted to report another incredibly strong set of results in my first full year as chairman.
“We have enjoyed record levels of mortgage lending this year, positive increases in our savings balances and we now operate more than 60,000 current accounts for people and businesses across our region.
“In addition, our commercial arm, estate agency and vehicle finance subsidiary, Borderway Finance, have all made exceptionally positive contributions to our business.
“This continuing success is the result of great people, a resolute commitment to putting our customers first and upholding the values of a mutual organisation.”
The financial year saw significant investment in The Cumberland’s digital services, including a webchat service, the introduction of Apple Pay and Google Pay to its current accounts and the integration of the Xero accounting software for its business banking customers.
Outside the office, it also raised more than £100,000 for local community groups and charities.