Andrew Craddock, Darlington Building Society Chief Executive

Andrew Craddock, Darlington Building Society Chief Executive

Published: 23 March 2022

Darlington Building Society has announced record-breaking financial results ahead of its Annual General Meeting (AGM) next month.

The Society has posted a pre-tax profit of £3.2m for 2021 – the highest since it was founded in 1856, and a significant uplift on the £0.7m achieved the previous year.

The balance sheet of £752m is also the highest ever and is ahead of the Society’s position before the global financial crisis in 2008.

On top of a record-breaking financial performance, the Society was able to invest in modernising the business, recruit additional staff, giving existing employees better terms and conditions, continue to support the local community and maintain excellent levels of member service.

Chief Executive Andrew Craddock said: “The great thing about 2021 was not just one individual thing, but the way we were able to balance the various elements of the operation.

“To achieve record-breaking financial results while investing in new systems to improve the member experience, and to do it in a single year, amid the most challenging circumstances, is incredible.”

Mr. Craddock attributed the record-breaking performance to two key factors:

  • A buoyant housing market leading to a significant increase in lending, with more people helped onto the housing ladder and, consequently, more interest generated
  • A recovery in the economy from the Covid related issues experienced in 2020.

The CEO also paid tribute to the resilience of his staff, saying: “In many ways, 2021 was even harder than 2020 because no one expected the pandemic to drag on so long. A lot of staff found it really tough, and that’s what makes the performance of the business even more remarkable.”

When the Bank of England raised the Base Rate in December, Darlington Building Society was able to pass on the full 0.15% increase to all variable rate savers, and hold its mortgage Standard Variable Rate (SVR). Following a second Base Rate rise in February, the Society passed on 0.25% to its junior and regular savers, 0.15% to most other savers and increased its SVR by 0.15%.

Jack Cullen, Darlington Building Society Chair said: “We are expecting further increases through the year and will seek to reward our loyal savers as much as we can, whilst balancing this with the needs of our borrowers and the absolute necessity of maintaining a prudent financial position of the Society as a whole.”

In 2021 the Society also made a major investment in new technology. This included a new website, a more customer-friendly telephone system, a new payment system, new broker platform (The Mortgage Hub), and the Society migrated its IT structure to the Cloud.

In addition, Darlington Building Society donated a total of £88,000 to 28 different local charities and good causes – in excess of its commitment to donating 5% of its profits.

It all led to the Society winning a host of honours, including being recognised as the third best Financial Services company to work for in the UK by Best Companies. Darlington was also named Building Society of the Year on two separate occasions, and it also won an award for its innovative self-build mortgage offering.

The AGM is on April 25 at the Great North Air Ambulance Service headquarters. Members will receive their voting packs by post or email on 25 March, when voting also opens. Voting will close at 5pm on 20 April.

To reduce its environmental impact, the Society is encouraging members to cast their votes online if they can – whether they received paper or digital packs.

The Society will donate £1 for every online vote and 50p for every postal vote to one of four charities: County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust; Quinn’s Retreat; Daisy Chain; and Senses Wellbeing Centre. Members can vote for which charity they would like the donation to go to. The charity with the most votes will receive the full donation.

The Society’s full results for 2021 can be found on 25 March at www.darlington.co.uk/AGM