United Trust Bank (UTB) has reported a 21% increase in new lending in 2019 completing £994m of new loans throughout the year. Operating income for the year was £64.9m and the Bank’s loan book increased to £1.24bn.
Considerable investment in the Bank’s infrastructure and people coupled with sector wide margin compression and growth being weighted towards the second half of the year led to a slight reduction in operating profit in 2019 to £32.7m. Nevertheless, the Bank achieved normalized RoE of 19.0%.
The results show UTB’s continued commitment to supporting SME housebuilders, developers and businesses as they seek funding to invest in new building projects or vehicles, plant and other assets despite considerable political and economic uncertainty.
The Bank’s consumer lending in the form of specialist first and second charge mortgages also delivered strong growth following the launch of several new products and service enhancements.
2019 highlights include:
UTB also made considerable investments in people and technology during the year, both of which enable the Bank to maintain its long-term growth objectives. The Bank increased staff numbers by 8% in 2019 and progressed several important technological projects including the development of a full online banking facility for deposits customers which is being rolled out. In addition, the Mortgages & Bridging Division introduced a smart ‘FinTech’ ID verification system which saves borrowers time, inconvenience and money and has been warmly received by brokers and customers alike.
United Trust Bank Chief Executive Officer, Graham Davin, pictured, commented:
“2019 was a year of investment in people, technology and systems to enhance the customer, broker and employee experience and improve efficiency and control. This will continue to be a priority at UTB for the foreseeable future and is an investment which will reap rewards in the coming years.
We came very close to achieving £1bn of new lending in 2019 which is an extraordinary performance given the political and economic uncertainty present throughout last year. I’m confident it’s a milestone we will comfortably pass in 2020.
2019 was complex from a profitability perspective as our investment in additional people and systems and costs of higher liquidity and risk offset the headline 20% growth in new business and loans. Nonetheless the Bank begins 2020 highly profitable, well capitalised and liquid and is currently writing record levels of new business.
The Board and Management team are grateful for the ongoing support of our customers and brokers and for the contribution of all our staff, across all departments, towards achieving these results. The diverse talent that the Bank’s staff bring to work and deploy with focus and passion as a team makes it an exciting and fun place to work and a privilege to be part of.”