Ecology posts positive results under new CEO

Written by Lori Campbell on 2nd Apr 2024

Reporting Ecology’s annual results for 2023, chief executive Gareth Griffiths said he was pleased that the building society is continuing its mission to build a greener society.

Though profits for the mutual fell slightly in the period following some planned investments, the firm reported that it had kept more borrowers than it had the previous year.

Mr Griffiths, who joined Ecology as CEO in June 2022, said: “This will make us fit for the future so Ecology can continue to make a difference.

“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.

More rate rises for savers than borrowers

“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 Rates rose following a long time at historic lows.”

Ecology is dedicated to building a greener society by providing mortgages for properties and projects that respect the environment and support sustainable communities, funded through its range of simple, transparent savings accounts.

It delivered stable levels of lending during 2023, despite the challenging market conditions, with net lending of £65 million. This was a fall from £69 million in 2022. Total mortgage asset balances grew to £241 million, up from £218 million in 2022.

I’m confident that our founding principles of how we seek to change society for the better have never been more relevant.

The Society also retained more borrowers at the end of their build periods, reducing mortgage redemptions (where people pay off their balance) from £35 million in 2022 to £26 million in 2023.

Lending in 2023 generated full year profits of £1.02 million, down from £1.66 million in 2022. Ecology said the fall was due to planned investments in skills, systems and technology, which it said was needed to support its ambitions for greater impact over the years to come.

A Good Egg: Ecology Building Society

Improving digital offerings

Mr Griffiths added: “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 also made preparations for the introduction of Consumer Duty, which came into effect in summer 2023. The new rules mean finance firms must ‘act in good faith towards customers, avoid causing them foreseeable harm and enable and supporting themto pursue their financial objectives’.

Ecology is also currently taking steps to become a net zero business. It said it will “continue to share what it has learned” to support members, colleagues and peers.

Mr Griffiths added: “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.”

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