March 31, 2020 @ 13:33 by Steven Hugill
A mutual has praised its resilience amid political and economic uncertainty after reporting strong financial results.
Darlington Building Society says savings balances and member numbers both increased in 2019.
Bosses say a fertile savings environment, bolstered by low interest rates, helped deliver an increase in balances of £52 million, with its membership rising to more than 86,000.
Furthermore, the mutual, which has branches across the south of the region, saw total assets increase by nearly nine per cent to £665.8 million.
According to its figures, the society – which traces its roots back to 1856 – lent £138 million to help people purchase or re-finance homes, with £9 million assisting first-time buyers.
Chief executive Andrew Craddock said he was pleased with the mutual’s progress, which was supplemented by significant investment in branch renovations, the introduction of new digital platforms and the recruitment of extra staff to cater for rising demand.
He said: “With the growth in our mortgages, deposits and reserves, we continue to go from strength to strength.
“Our success has been built on our commitment to our members, being both our owners and our customers.
“We remain committed to supporting our savers both young and old, while helping our borrowers buy or re-mortgage their home.
“We are passionate about helping those in and around our community, and I believe our financial strength provides members with confidence in uncertain times.”
The mutual has branches in Darlington, Bishop Auckland, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar.
Further sites include bases in Yarm, Barnard Castle, Northallerton and Guisborough, in east Cleveland.