Ecology Building Society grows its assets past £250m mark

The ethical lender also celebrated its 40th anniversary and met international standards on climate-related disclosures

Ecology Building Society has announced a 13.4% increase in total assets, taking it past £250m for the first time, in its annual results for the year ending 31 December 2021.

The mutual also reported a record 76.59% increase in new mortgage lending, enabled by a 14.6% increase in the number of members saving with the society. Profit after tax rose to £1.019m, from £0.524m.

During the year, Ecology says it lent over £69.4m, supporting 371 sustainable properties and projects, and ended the year with a 22.3% growth in mortgage assets. This growth was supported by the society’s enhanced capital position as a result of the core capital deferred shares (CCDS) capital raise in 2020.

Ecology further cemented its reputation as a pioneer of ethical finance, becoming one of the first building societies to comprehensively report its climate-related disclosures, using the internationally recognised TCFD (Task force on Climate-related Finance Disclosures) framework.

The society, which marked its 40th anniversary in 2021, offers a range of “simple, transparent, ethical savings accounts which 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”.

Highlights of the 2021 results include:

  • Total assets of £256.3m (2020: £226.0m)
  • Savings balances at £239.5m (2020: £210.3m)
  • Capital strength at £15.698m (2020: £14.997)
  • Profit after tax of £1.019m (2020: £0.524m)
  • Gross lending of £69.4m (2020: £39.3m)

The year also saw the launch of its 2030 Strategy, co-developed with members and colleagues, setting out how it will realise its ecological mission for the remainder of the decade.

Ecology says the results “build on more than 40 years of uninterrupted profitability demonstrating that values-based and purpose-driven finance also makes real economic sense”. 

The £1.019m profit builds on its capital base, it adds, increasing its financial strength and enhancing its ability to remain resilient to the economic impact of the cost-of-living crisis and extend the benefits of its sustainable lending.

After being a finalist in six categories, members’ voting and positive feedback saw the society named ‘‘Best Ethical Financial Provider’ and ‘Treating Customers Fairly Champion’ in the Smart Money People British Bank Awards 2021. Ecology’s approach to ethical finance was also recognised in the MoneyAge Awards and Savings Champion Awards.

CEO Paul Ellis, who steps down at the end of April after 27 years in the role, and 40 years with the society, said: “These results mark an outstanding year of sustainable growth for Ecology demonstrating, more than ever, the strength of our lending model and the importance of finance that has a positive impact for people and our planet. 

“2021 was a special year for Ecology as we marked our 40-year anniversary of pioneering sustainable finance. We’re powered by over 12,000 members, so it was critical that they helped to shape our new strategy setting out how we will realise our ecological mission for the remainder of this decade. Members can continue to be assured that their money is delivering a real contribution to tackle the climate and ecological crisis as well as supporting our agitation for system change.”

He added: “Looking ahead our strong pipeline of lending for low impact homes and financial position gives us a firm foundation to continue to invest in our services to our members, innovate, and grow our sustainable lending further during 2022 and beyond.

“I am departing Ecology well assured that I will be leaving the society in the very capable hands of those who are determined to build on its legacy as a leading example of the transformative power of ethical finance.”