New CEO Steve Fletcher
New CEO Steve Fletcher

Profits down but mortgage pipeline ‘healthy’ at Vernon Building Society

Vernon Building Society is forecasting a strong year ahead on the back of a £769k pre-tax profit in 2017.

The Stockport-based mutual used its latest Annual Review to announce the result, which was down from £1.3m in 2016.

Steve Fletcher, who took over as chief exec from long-serving CEO Mike Hanson in February, said the result puts the lender in a strong financial position with the potential for growth.

Steve said: “Whilst internal change and the competitive mortgage market meant that gross lending reduced in 2017 and our balance sheet contracted slightly, because of the investments made in the broker channel and in new products, we start 2018 with a healthy mortgage pipeline.

“I’m confident that the business will grow over the coming years, underpinned by our strong financial position and below industry average arrears.”

Vernon hired 15 new members of staff in 2017, bringing its headcount to 80.

The company said the expanded workforce will help it deliver on future growth plans, which include developing a new self-build mortgage and exploring opportunities in the student mortgage market.

Speaking further, Steve commented: “The board has developed a five-year plan to support future growth that takes advantage of our local personal service and individual underwriting approach.

“The programme of investment detailed within it will continue with improvements to our processes, IT infrastructure and most importantly further investment in our people.”

The Vernon Building Society operates across six branches in Stockport and Cheshire.

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