Award for Progressive’s Lisburn branch

THE Lisburn Branch of Progressive Building Society has reason to celebrate after they recently won the Business Retention Award, whilst the Progessive has reported an increase in pre-tax profit to £3.3 million for its 2011 financial year.

Ian Nelson, Branch Manager of the Lisburn Branch received the news of the award when he attended the Society’s recent announcement of their Annual Results at their AGM.

Commenting on the Society’s figures Chairman, Dr Joan Smyth said: “The Society’s results are excellent given the ongoing difficult market conditions in which we had to operate in 2011.”

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Whilst the lending books of many banks contracted last year, Progressive maintained the size of its balance sheet in 2011 by continuing to offer competitive mortgage deals in an effort to stimulate the local housing market. “The ongoing low level of interest rates last year did have a positive effect on the number of housing transactions in the market and this helped us to maintain the volume of our lending in 2011,” said Dr Smyth.

In a year when many households were using any surplus funds to pay down debt, competition for savings balances was intense as banks were forced to pay up for retail funds due to the savings shortage and illiquidity in the wholesale market.

Chief Executive, Mrs Darina Armstrong, said: “Despite fierce competition from the banks and National Savings we held the value of our savings book at the 2010 level by offering rates up to and beyond 4%.”

The Society was able to offset the increases in the FSCS levy and bad debt provisions by improving interest margin and bearing down on management expenses. Progressive’s management expenses to assets ratio remained at 0.50%; one of the best efficiency measures in the building society sector.