One of the enjoyable aspects of my job is the opportunity every year to address, and meet, members at the Annual General Meeting. It’s an event I look forward to and this year it was particularly pleasing to host the event in a new venue – The Auditorium, Mansfield Library.
The Library has undergone something of a transformation over the past couple of years and I must say that I was very impressed by the facilities including the purpose built auditorium which proved to be ideal for our purposes. Early feedback from members has also been extremely positive.
The 2012 Report and Accounts, Summary Financial Statement and voting statistics can be viewed in the “Corporate Information” section of our website. Suffice to say that an overwhelming majority of members voted in favour of the resolutions and I would like to thank everyone for their valued support and for taking the time to either attend the meeting or vote by post or online.
We announced strong results at the meeting and it was particularly pleasing to report that in 2012 The Mansfield had its best lending year since 2007 achieving a 24% increase in lending to £49 million – 27% of this lending was to First Time Buyers.
In my meeting address I said that we will keep focussing on our core strength of providing mortgages backed by a full manual underwriting approach which allows us to go beyond the point where other larger lenders automated scoring systems do not cope with complex, but fundamentally sound, mortgage applications. We have been proactive in offering low deposit mortgages to those that can afford the monthly repayments but struggle to raise the cash deposit required. An example of this is our 95% loan to value mortgage where we accept deposits of as little as 5% compared to some lenders who typically want 20% or more. High percentage lending requires careful consideration but the mortgage team possess the skills, knowledge and experience to ensure that risks are properly managed. The attributes of the team, together with insurance cover, ensures that the financial stability of the Society is not compromised by the element of our business that is higher percentage lending.
Finally, I have no need to remind anyone that it is a tough market for savers with sharp falls in savings rates since the start of 2012. Clearly we want to assist adult savers as well as younger ones so we have introduced accounts that pay a higher rate for savers in our heartland area and also reward existing loyal customers. Full details can be viewed in the “Savings” section of our website.
Thanks again for your loyal support which is very much appreciated and I aim to be reporting continued improvements this time next year!