The West Bromwich Building Society was in confident mood yesterday after unveiling "excellent progress" for the six months to September 30.
The society, now headed by recently appointed chief executive Stephen Karle, said that during the period its total assets had increased to £7.5 billion from £7.2 billion, while mortage assets stood at £6 billion, a £300 million increase from £5.7 billion .
Net saving balances had increased by £175 million to around £4.2 billion, while group pretax profits rose to £21.1 million. At the same time group residential arrears of 2.5 per cent or more were down to just half a per cent. On the commercial side, the society is arrears free. In a statement, the society said: "These results demonstrate that the group continues to make good sustainable progress in all areas of the business and has built a position of subs tantial balance sheet strength.
"Underlying profitability remains strong despite fierce competition, increasing regulation and uncertainty over markets and business conditions."
Mr Karle, who succeeded Andrew Messenger as chief executive after he retired in September at the age of 55, said: "We have performed well and continue to make good progress in line with expectations and we are building a strong, mutual building society, providing real value for our members.
"From here on we will be focusing on delivering profitable growth, increasing our financial strength and offering exceptional value, service and advice to members and our policy of developing new and exciting markets will continue.
"The overriding aim is to make sure we build a trusted brand, delivering long-term value and advice beyond customer expectation.
"We are now about to launch our first every residential mortage securitisation, which hold tremendous potential."
Long-term the West Bromwich aims to grow its asset base by more than four fold to £30 billion by 2016.
In current terms, growth of such magnitude would see the West Bromich leapfrog from ninth place in the building society league table to second behind Nationwide.
Over the same ten year period, membership of the 157 year-old West Bromwich will double to nearly 1.5 million while its workforce will grow by half to about 1,500. And along the way the society will likely outgrow its 34 year-old headquarters building in High Street, West Bromwich.
If the society's growth plans come off, profits will surge fourfold to about £150 million, and the society will ultimately return £120 million a year to its members in the form of competitive interest rates.
The West Bromwich also says that new products will help to drive growth in the core building society business and higher levels of commercial lending will also strengthen the balance sheet.