Coventry Building Society has put its “record” 5.5 per cent mortgage growth in the first six months of 2021 down to its investments in new technology, as well as its people.
The UK’s second-largest building society said wait times for both calls and web chat were measured “in seconds rather than minutes” during this period, averaging a 51 second wait time for calls.
The lender’s mortgage book grew by £2.4bn to £45.9bn between January and June 2021, compared to just £0.8bn growth over the period last year.
Growth in its buy-to-let lending remained level at £0.9bn, the same figure it recorded this time last year.
Coventry’s residential mortgage growth led to a pre-tax profit of £124m, more than five times the figure it recorded in June 2020 (£22m).
“The mortgage market in 2021 has been incredibly strong and, by equipping our business development managers and service teams with the tools and technology to work with members, customers and intermediary partners, we’ve been able to meet the spikes in demand without compromising on the high standards of service that we are famous for,” said Steve Hughes, Coventry’s chief executive.
As well as its technology investments, Coventry also put the five-fold growth down to its higher provision of loans to first-time buyers.
It offered 3,800 loans to this demographic in the first six months of 2021, compared to just a quarter of this amount (900) in the same period of 2020.
The lender also launched 95 per cent loan-to-value mortgages at the beginning of this year.
“We haven’t waited for the market to come to us,” said Hughes, who added that the lender’s attention to first-time buyers was “a signal” of its intent “to do even more” in the second half of 2021 for this demographic.
Despite the removal of market catalysts such as the stamp duty holiday, Hughes concluded “there is cause for cautious optimism” as the UK transitions through the pandemic and adapts to new ways of living and working.
Coventry’s savings balances increased by £0.9bn over the past six months, to £39.1bn. It said members favoured easy access and regular saver accounts.
It also said “most” borrowers were now repaying their mortgage payment holiday requests initiated in the thick of the pandemic last year.