Slight dip in prof­its at Ecol­ogy mu­tual

Build­ing so­ci­ety posts record as­sets

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - MARK CASCI BUSI­NESS EDI­TOR Email: mark.casci@ypn.co.uk Twit­ter: @MarkCasci

RE­SULTS:

Ecol­ogy Build­ing So­ci­ety posted a slight re­duc­tion in prof­itabil­ity last year de­spite record­ing record as­sets.

Prof­its with the Sils­den-based build­ing so­ci­ety fell from £920m in 2016 to £915m last year, with gross lend­ing hav­ing also de­clined to £28.2m from £30.7m the year prior.

ECOL­OGY BUILD­ING So­ci­ety posted a slight re­duc­tion in prof­itabil­ity last year de­spite record­ing record as­sets.

Prof­its with the Sils­den-based build­ing so­ci­ety fell from £920m in 2016 to £915m last year, with gross lend­ing hav­ing also de­clined to £28.2m from £30.7m the year prior.

Aside from the mod­est de­clines Ecol­ogy posted as­sets of £178.7m, its high­est ever level, up from £173.1m in 2016, and grew its sav­ing bal­ances to £167.8m from £163.1m a year ago.

Paul El­lis, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ecol­ogy Build­ing So­ci­ety, said that the firm had a strong pipe­line of lend­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the year ahead.

He said: “Re­cent ini­tia­tives such as the report of the Gov­ern­ment’s Green Fi­nance Task­force are pos­i­tive signs of a grow­ing in­ter­est in Ecol­ogy’s sus­tain­able lend­ing model, demon­strat­ing how fi­nance can sup­port the tran­si­tion to a low-car­bon econ­omy.

“We’ve been providing sus­tain­able mort­gages for more than 30 years, of­fer­ing in­no­va­tive dis­counts that in­cen­tivise the most en­ergy ef­fi­cient projects and prop­er­ties. Our con­tin­ued growth and suc­cess shows that fi­nance that ben­e­fits both peo­ple and planet can be prof­itable.

“As well as sup­port­ing more and more peo­ple to ren­o­vate their homes to a high en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dard, I’m par­tic­u­larly pleased that we have in­creased our lend­ing for com­mu­nity-led hous­ing so­lu­tions which are help­ing to tackle the hous­ing and af­ford­abil­ity cri­sis.

“We have a strong pipe­line of lend­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties which will en­able us to con­tinue to grow our mort­gage book in 2018 while main­tain­ing our com­mit­ment

to our core prin­ci­ples of sus­tain­abil­ity.”

Ecol­ogy of­fers eth­i­cal sav­ings ac­counts that fund mort­gages for prop­er­ties and projects sup­port­ing in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties to adopt green build­ing prac­tices, im­prove the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of the UK’s hous­ing stock and to live or work in a way that pro­motes a sus­tain­able econ­omy.

In 2017, it loaned more than £28.2m for sus­tain­able prop­er­ties and projects, with 78 per cent of mort­gages ad­vanced on res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties (in­clud­ing new builds, ren­o­va­tions and shared own­er­ship) and 22 per cent on com­mu­nity-led hous­ing (in­clud­ing char­i­ties, com­mu­nity land trusts and hous­ing co-op­er­a­tives) and non-res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties such as sus­tain­able busi­nesses.

The re­sults con­tinue more than 30 years of un­in­ter­rupted prof­itabil­ity for Ecol­ogy, with the firm say­ing any ad­di­tional profit adds to Ecol­ogy’s cap­i­tal base, in­creases its fi­nan­cial strength and en­hances its abil­ity to grow its lend­ing and fur­ther in­vest in the dig­i­tal ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Mr El­lis, the long­est-serv­ing CEO in the build­ing so­ci­ety sec­tor, cel­e­brated 25 years at Ecol­ogy last year and since his ap­point­ment as chief ex­ec­u­tive has over­seen an in­crease in as­sets of more than £150m.

Last month the Green Fi­nance Task­force pub­lished its report to the UK Gov­ern­ment that con­tained 30 rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing a num­ber to sup­port green lend­ing.

Speak­ing about the firm’s ap­proach to of­fer­ing green home mort­gages, he said: “If we are to meet our Paris cli­mate agree­ment com­mit­ments, the fi­nance sec­tor needs to sup­port the tran­si­tion to a low-car­bon econ­omy.

“Ecol­ogy has pi­o­neered green mort­gages for over 30 years of­fer­ing dis­counts for the life of the mort­gage of up to 1.25 per cent for the most en­ergy-ef­fi­cient new and self-build homes, sup­port­ing the take-up of green build­ing ma­te­ri­als and low en­ergy tech­niques such as Pas­sivhaus, and up to 1.5 per cent for ren­o­va­tion of ex­ist­ing build­ings which is cru­cial given the chal­lenge of retrofitting our ex­ist­ing hous­ing stock.

“Fol­low­ing pub­li­ca­tion of the Green Fi­nance Task­force’s rec­om­men­da­tions, the Gov­ern­ment needs to grasp the op­por­tu­nity to sup­port the green mort­gage mar­ket fur­ther, with mean­ing­ful in­cen­tives for peo­ple to build or retro­fit their homes to a high en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency stan­dard.”

The fi­nance sec­tor needs to sup­port a low-car­bon econ­omy. Paul El­lis, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ecol­ogy Build­ing So­ci­ety

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