Annual Results 2023: Good Performance And Investing In Our Future

Ecology reports good performance as it invests profits in Member value. Mutual’s biggest-ever transformation will boost future service and impact.

Ecology Building Society delivered a good performance and healthy profits last year, which it invested in Member value and ongoing modernisation to improve service.

Reporting annual results for 2023, Chief Executive Gareth Griffiths said he was pleased the mutual’s growing team had made good progress against its 2030 strategy, including its ambitious digital transformation programme.

“This will make us fit for the future so Ecology can continue to make a difference,” said Gareth.

“Reporting results after my first full year as Chief Executive, we’re moving forward as a team so Ecology can continue to fulfil our mission to build a greener society and influence more positive change within our industry.

“Those fundamentals of who we are and why we do what we do remain unchanged, even as we make progress through the biggest period of transformation in Ecology’s history.

“Completing the upgrade of our infrastructure will give us the foundations for a successful and sustainable future for the Society as a triple bottom line business for generations to come.

“And as we strive to improve our service to Members, I’m proud that last year we were able to pass on more rate increases to our savers than to our borrowers, as Bank Rate rose following a long time at historic lows.”

Ecology delivered stable levels of lending during 2023, despite the challenging market conditions, with net lending of £65m (£69m 2022). Total mortgage asset balances grew to more than £240m (£218m 2022).

The Society also retained more borrowers at the end of their build periods, reducing mortgage redemptions to £26m (£35m 2022).

Lending in 2023 generated healthy full year profits of £1.02m (£1.66m 2022), the slight reduction from 2022 due to investment in Member value by raising rates for savers while moderating increases for borrowers.

Higher costs also affected profit levels, as Ecology proceeds with significant, planned investment in the skills, systems and technology needed to support its ambitions for greater impact over the years to come.

This work is progressing on time and on budget but means costs are likely to remain higher in the short term.

Gareth said: “As customer expectations evolve, we’re working to offer better digital functionality to our Members as part of efforts to improve our service overall.

“We need to keep attracting savings inflows to fund our impactful lending and know more savers are joining us because of our principles of sustainability and transparency.”

In line with the rest of its sector, Ecology had to make extensive preparations for the introduction of Consumer Duty, which came into effect in summer 2023.

The Society also continues to respond to the demands of growing industry regulation, as well as maintaining and upgrading systems to keep Members’ money and data safe and secure.

In common with its Members, Ecology is on its own journey towards net zero and will continue to share what it’s learned to support Members, colleagues and peers as they strive to cut their own carbon emissions.

Gareth said: “I’m confident that our founding principles of how we seek to change society for the better have never been more relevant. Care for the environment and ethical business practices are gaining in importance with the public.

“In plotting a careful course through the challenging mortgage and savings markets, we never lose sight of the needs of our Members and, as a building society, we always take a long term view.

“Our Members will always shape our business and have fed into work underway to refresh our stated purpose. After four decades as a start-up, we’re deciding how best we can be an upstart for the next four decades.

“The changes we’re undergoing now are building on Ecology’s heritage and strong foundations to ensure we remain relevant and impactful into the future.”

Download our 2023 Annual Report and Accounts here.

Download our 2023 Annual Review here.

Published: 28 March 2024

Author: Chris Meadows