Leeds to compete in existing mortgage niches

Leeds to compete in existing mortgage niches

The chief executive of Leeds Building Society has said he will compete in the mortgage market by focusing on existing niches.

Peter Hill was speaking to FTAdviser after the building society posted a record profit before tax for 2017 of £121m as its total mortgage balances reached £15.2bn.

The building society said there had been "tough competition" in the mortgage market over 2017, which was likely to continue in the next few years and put downward pressure on Leeds's net interest margin - the difference between the interest generated from mortgages to that paid out on deposits.

Mr Hill said: "We have seen, since probably the middle of last year, quite a step-up in competition.

"Our proposition on the mortgage side of the business is really about focusing on under-served markets. Last year we supported 13,000 first-time buyers but we are also very active in shared ownership, Help to Buy and high loan-to-value.

"We have carved out quite a strong niche in those areas and we expect to be competing hard there."

During 2017 the building society saw "strong" net mortgage lending of £1.8bn.

Over the course of last year it provided a mortgage to more than 50,000 people, including the 13,000 first-time buyers.

Mr Hill said: "We operate across the range. We do pretty well everything and we know there are something where we have got a strong proposition like shared ownership and Help to Buy.

"Although we are not particularly as strong a buy-to-let lender, we are very active in the remortgage market."

He said there would be a large number of buy-to-let borrowers looking to remortgage over the next year as their fixed-rates end and he said this could be an area of growth for Leeds.