Ecology Building Society assets pass the £200m mark

The ethical lender says its improved capital base will help it invest in innovation and accelerate the financing of sustainable property

Ecology Building Society says its total assets have risen 14.13%, taking them above £200m for the first time, as it announced its results for the year to 31 December 2020.

The society, which also reported a 9.43% increase in mortgage assets, hailed “a strong and resilient performance against the backdrop of the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic and the effective closure of the property market during the first lockdown, combined with the unprecedented low level of the Bank of England base rate”.  

Ecology added that it ended the year with strong levels of new lending and “begins 2021 with a record pipeline of sustainable lending prospects supported by an enhanced capital position, strong inflow of funds and membership growth generated by the increasing awareness of climate and ecological issues.

“This provides Ecology with an excellent platform for growth as the crucially important green recovery gathers pace.”

The ethical finance specialist, which marks its 40th anniversary this year, says it offers “simple, transparent, ethical savings accounts” which fund green and energy efficient mortgages and property enhancements.

Figures in the 2020 results include:

  • Total assets of £226.0m (2019: £198.0m)
  • Savings balances at £210.3m (2019: £185.3m)
  • Capital strength at £15.11m (2019: £11.69) enhanced by the issuance of Core Capital deferred shares (CCDS) to support investment for growth
  • Profit after tax of £0.524m (2019: £1.073m)
  • Gross lending of £39.3m (2019: £43.5m)

The society says it continued to invest in digital and operational capability with profits above expectation at £0.524m.

In 2020 it lent over £39.3m for sustainable properties and projects, with 67% of mortgages for residential properties (including new energy efficient homes, renovations and shared ownership) and 33% for community-led housing (including charities, community land trusts and housing co-operatives) and non-residential properties such as sustainable businesses.

The society says it enhanced its range of green mortgages for renovations and whole house retrofits.

Ecology added to its capital base through the issuance of £3m of Core Capital Deferred Shares (CCDS), which it says will be allow it further invest in innovation, accelerate its lending and amplifying its voice on environmental issues.

The society also won the self-build lender of the year category in the Build-It magazine awards, and was named Mortgage Provider of the Year in the Yorkshire Financial Awards for the second year running.

CEO Paul Ellis said: “These results mark another strong year of sustainable growth for Ecology demonstrating, more than ever, the resilience of our lending model and the importance of finance that has a positive impact for people and our planet. 

“Looking ahead, our strong pipeline of lending for low impact homes and financial position gives us a firm foundation to invest in our services to our members, innovate, and grow our sustainable lending further during 2021 and beyond.

“Ecology is agitating for the government to deliver clear and consistent climate leadership in the run up to COP26 and urgently deliver on its plans to support greener homes, which will be vital if we are to meet our Paris commitments.”