Milestone Success: Swansea Building Society’s Centenary Celebrated with Financial Triumph

Alun Williams of Swansea Building Society which has announced record results.

Alun Williams of Swansea Building Society which has announced record results.

In its 100th year, Swansea Building Society stands as a testament to success, achieving historic growth in mortgages and savings balances, complemented by record profits. The institution’s ability to attain double-digit growth in total assets, mortgages, savings, and capital, even in a challenging economic environment, underscores its financial prowess and strategic resilience.

For the fiscal year to December 31, 2023, Swansea Building Society celebrated significant financial milestones, witnessing a 15% growth in total assets fuelled by a 16% increase in savings and a 15% rise in mortgages. Total assets soared to £607 million, savings balances reached £565.5 million, and mortgage balances expanded to £477.8 million. The Society’s impressive mortgage growth was propelled by setting another record with gross mortgage completions hitting £120.1 million, surpassing the previous highest set in 2021.

The Society’s growth was supported by record profits before tax of £6.2 million, beating the previous record of £5.4 million achieved in 2022. This increased the Society’s capital reserves to £39.8 million. This is vitally important to the Society, as it provides greater reserves to support members achieve their financial goals.

The Society remains one of the few financial institutions in the UK that receives no wholesale funding or support from the Bank of England in the form of cheap funding. Its balance sheet is funded entirely by customer savings balances and its own capital reserves built up from retained profits over many years.

Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society, said:

“The Society has ended its centenary year in great health, having delivered a record performance in 2023. This is despite the extremely difficult market conditions experienced during the year. I am extremely proud of how the Society has balanced the needs of borrowers and savers against a backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis, falling house prices and a rapidly increasing interest rate environment. Our 100th year has been full of activity, and I am delighted with how my colleagues have shown the level of dedication and care that our members deserve.

“The Bank of England has increased the Bank base interest rate 13 times since December 2021 as they have sought to reduce inflation. We are mindful that many of our mortgage customers have never experienced a rising interest rate market and were considerate of the impact that these dramatic increases could have on both new and existing borrowers. As a result, the Society’s weighted average interest rate paid by borrowers has increased by 2.88% at 31 December 2023, compared to the 5% increase in Bank base interest rate.

“Each time the Bank Base interest rate has changed, we have reviewed the Society’s savings interest rates to ensure that they are still highly competitive. The number of changes to the

Bank Base interest rate during 2022 and 2023 has made this task more challenging than in previous years, as the increased volatility in the savings market has made it more difficult to review the interest rates offered by other savings providers. It was therefore extremely pleasing that we were able to offer our savers such competitive rates that we achieved record savings growth.

“Producing strong sustainable financial results is just one aspect of the Society’s objectives. It is vitally important to the Society that we are also successful in terms of the quality of customer feedback and Member satisfaction. I was therefore delighted that based on customer survey feedback for 2023, 97% of respondents said they would recommend the Society to other prospective customers. This was particularly pleasing given the current economic climate.

“A key element of the Society’s purpose is to be socially responsible and to make a positive impact to the local community. We offer support not only through the products and services that we provide, but also by donating our time, skills, and resources. As 2023 was our 100th year of existence, in addition to the money raised for Maggie’s, our charity of the year, we donated an additional £100k to provide further support to local good causes in branch communities.

“To celebrate its 100 years, the Society held several events throughout the year to thank our members, introducers and suppliers for their support. It gave me great pleasure to be able to share the Society’s success with so many of our supporters across our core communities from West to East Wales.

“As we look beyond our 100th year, the Society is well placed to navigate through the challenging trading conditions caused by the current economic uncertainty. Our plans continue with the theme of digital transformation, as we embrace change by investing in our people and technology. Our members will therefore continue to see improvements in the way the Society delivers its products and services in the coming years. The increased growth and subsequent profitability of recent years has enabled the Society to make such investments, for the benefit of both current and future members.

“Our core goal of serving our customers in any way they choose remains. We will continue to support members through whichever channel is best for them, whether that is in-branch, telephone, or online. We pride ourselves on being a true mutual, with a member centric focus, providing relevant, attractive products and delivering exceptional customer service. Together with our robust financial strength, we are in a strong position to deliver on our purpose of providing members with tailored, flexible solutions.”

The Society will hold its annual general meeting at the Swansea.Com stadium on Thursday 25th April 2024. Members can vote ahead of that meeting or attend the meeting in person and the Society will donate a pound to Maggie’s cancer charity for every vote received.