The West Brom building society has reversed years of multi-million pound losses to pile up profits of £6 million in a dramatic turnaround in fortunes.

The 165-year-old mutual has revealed pre-tax profits of £6 million for the six months to September 30 just five years after staving off collapse and losses of £7.6 million a year ago. It also posted full-year profit in May.

The society had already outstripped its 2013 new lending figures by the middle of this year in its strongest performance since the dark days of the recession.

Chief executive Jonathan Westhoff said: "We are ahead of where we thought we were going to be.

"Funding costs have improved and we have increased our margins on the buy to let portfolio and that has had the impact of putting us back into a position where profits are starting to accrue.

"Our focus is to make sure that we have got a strong building society in the West Midlands. To get into a position of profit and growth is always what we wanted to achieve.

"We started out on that journey five years ago and we feel that we are improving the legacy position better than we had previously expected.

"Last year, we did £214 million of new lending, and we have done just over £300 million of new lending in the first six months of this year. That represents how strong the business has become.

"It is back to its principal purpose of providing funds for home ownership. We were open about the difficulties in 2009 and sorting out the financial strategy was the first objective. That has been transformed over the last five years."

Mr Westhoff said one in five of its loans were for first-time buyers.

"We have had a very strong first half-year, although we may see some slowdown in the housing market," he added.

"We are also talking of a good year for the UK economy, we have seen growth a little stronger than last year. But I do not think that we are without any headwinds yet."

He said future market conditions in Europe and Japan were unknown economic factors but agreed that a UK interest rate rise was now unlikely before the end of 2015.

The mutual, which has 37 branches, a 725-strong staff and 450,000 members, is set to move into its new 70,000 sq ft head office at Providence Place in West Bromwich by September next year.