Our Annual Results For 2020: Sustainable And Resilient

Ecology Building Society sustainable mortgages and savings logo 2
Our 2020 results demonstrate that Ecology has a strong platform for growth and is well placed to be at the heart of delivering a truly sustainable and inclusive green recovery.

We’ve announced an increase in total assets of 14.13% to above £200m for the first time and a 9.43% increase in mortgage assets for the year ending 31 December 2020.

This is a strong and resilient performance against the backdrop of the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic and the effective closure of the property market during the first lockdown combined with the unprecedented low level of the Bank of England base rate.

The Society ended the year with strong levels of new lending and we begin our 40th anniversary year in 2021 with a record pipeline of sustainable lending prospects supported by an enhanced capital position, strong inflow of funds and membership growth generated by the increasing awareness of climate and ecological issues. This provides us with an excellent platform for growth as the crucially important green recovery gathers pace.

Highlights of our 2020 results include:

  • Total assets of £226.0m (2019: £198.0m)
  • Savings balances at £210.3m (2019: £185.3m)
  • Capital strength at £15.11m (2019: £11.69) enhanced by the issuance of Core Capital deferred shares (CCDS) to support investment for growth
  • Profit after tax of £0.524m (2019: £1.073m)
  • Gross lending of £39.3m (2019: £43.5m)

While we were impacted by the unprecedented low interest rate environment and higher impairment provisions, we continued to invest in digital and operational capability with profits above expectation at £0.524m.

In 2020 we lent over £39.3m for sustainable properties and projects, with 67% of mortgages for residential properties (including new energy efficient homes, renovations and shared ownership) and 33% for community-led housing (including charities, community land trusts and housing co-operatives) and non-residential properties such as sustainable businesses.

During the year, we also enhanced our range of green mortgages for renovations and whole house retrofit to drive forward energy efficiency improvements of existing homes to help meet the UK’s net-zero carbon ambitions.

And we successfully added to our capital base through the issuance of £3m of Core Capital Deferred Shares (CCDS) marking the beginning of an exciting and transformational era in the Society’s history.  The additional capital is enabling us to further invest in innovation, accelerating our lending and amplifying our voice so that your Society can play an even more significant role in tackling the climate and ecological challenge.

The results build on almost 40 years of uninterrupted profitability demonstrating that values-based and purpose-driven finance also makes real economic sense. The profit adds to the Society’s capital base, increasing our financial strength and enhancing our ability to remain resilient to the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak and extend the benefits of our sustainable lending.

Throughout 2020 we have continued to lead the way through its commitment to ethical business practices. As well as continuing to reduce our own environmental impact, we are:

  • The first building society to report the carbon emissions arising from our mortgage lending and we’re supporting the development of new standards in carbon accounting
  • The first building society be awarded the Fair Tax Mark for responsible tax behaviour
  • The first building society to become a founding signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking, reporting on progress for the first time in March 2021
  • Committed to fair pay by being a Living Wage employer and having a maximum pay ratio limit where the highest salary paid is no more than eight times the lowest salary

The Society also won the self-build lender of the year category in the Build-It magazine awards [and the Mortgage Provider of the Year in the Yorkshire Financial Awards for the second year running]. During the year the Society was also shortlisted for a highly respected Ashden Award and is a finalist in six categories of the British Bank Awards.

Paul Ellis, Chief Executive

Paul Ellis, our Chief Executive, explains,

“These results mark another strong year of sustainable growth for Ecology demonstrating, more than ever, the resilience of our lending model and the importance of finance that has a positive impact for people and our planet.

“2021 is a special year for Ecology as we mark our 40-year anniversary of pioneering sustainable finance. Our members can continue to be assured that Ecology is at the heart of the drive to deliver the vital green recovery and their money is delivering a real contribution to tackle the climate and ecological crisis.

“Looking ahead our strong pipeline of lending for low impact homes and financial position gives us a firm foundation to invest in our services to our members, innovate, and grow our sustainable lending further during 2021 and beyond.

“Ecology is agitating for the Government to deliver clear and consistent climate leadership in the run up to COP26 and urgently deliver on its plans to support greener homes, which will be vital if we are to meet our Paris commitments.”


Published: 16 April 2021

Author: Chris Meadows