The chief executive of Dudley Building Society has hailed a "watershed" year but warned that "a significant amount of change" was necessary for it to be competitive.

Jeremy Wood said that, after two challenging years, the society's financial performance had improved markedly and some of its planned changes to systems and processes had started to come on-stream.

The comments came as Dudley Building Society announces its full-year results for the period to 31 March 2014, which showed pre-tax profit had risen from £159,000 to £556,000 and operating income climbed from £4.89 million to £5.88 million.

Overall profit for the year was up to £402,000 from £118,000 while new mortgage lending increased from £27.7 million to £31 million.

Writing in the annual report, Jeremy Wood said: "A significant amount of change is necessary to improve systems and processes in order for the society to compete in a rapidly changing landscape for the retail finance industry.

"We will increasingly be disadvantaged if we cannot offer the same products and services to our members as those available elsewhere.

"A major step forward was taken in October 2013 when we changed our network and communications supplier.

"The switch has improved the speed (and efficiency) of communication throughout the society."

During the period, the society moved to a new head office at The Waterfront, in Brierley Hill, and closed its Sedgley branch with staff relocating to other sites.

Mr Wood said plans to grow the society required it to increase the mortgage business further over the coming years and he was confident it had all of the components in place to make it happen.

Total assets decreased year-on-year by £300,000 to £319 million while 1,471 new savings accounts were opened during the period and 3,261 new accounts overall.

"Our commitment remains to offer good, long-term value through our savings products and not to entice new savers with good introductory rates which switch to uncompetitive rates on maturity," he added.

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