A SILSDEN-based building society has seen its total assets exceed £200 million for the first time.

The milestone was achieved by the Ecology as assets rose by just over 14 per cent in 2020 – to £226m – in what the society has hailed as a “strong and resilient” performance against the backdrop of the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic and the effective closure of the property market during the first lockdown.

Mortgage assets also increased in the year ending December 31, by 9.43 per cent.

Savings balances totalled £210.3m, compared to £185.3m the previous year.

There was gross lending of £39.3m for sustainable properties and projects.

Profits after tax amounted to £524,000.

Although the profit figure was down from £1.073m in 2019, the society said that whilst it was impacted by an environment of unprecedented low interest rates, it had continued to invest in its digital and operational capabilities and profits were “above expectation”.

The society says it ended the year with strong levels of new lending and begins 2021 with “an excellent platform for growth”.

Chief executive, Paul Ellis, said: “These results mark another strong year of sustainable growth for Ecology demonstrating, more than ever, the resilience of our lending model and the importance of finance that has a positive impact for people and our planet.

“This year is a special one for Ecology as we mark our 40th anniversary of pioneering sustainable finance. Our members can continue to be assured that Ecology is at the heart of the drive to deliver the vital green recovery and that their money is delivering a real contribution to tackle the climate and ecological crisis.

“Looking ahead, our strong pipeline of lending for low-impact homes and our financial position gives us a firm foundation to invest in services to our members, innovate and grow our sustainable lending further during 2021 and beyond.

“Ecology is agitating for the Government to deliver clear and consistent climate leadership in the run-up to the UN climate change conference COP26 and urgently deliver on its plans to support greener homes, which will be vital if we are to meet our Paris commitments.”

During 2020, 67 per cent of the Ecology’s mortgages were for residential properties and the remainder for community-led housing.