Newcastle Building Society saw gross mortgage lending in 2020 reach £645m, according to its latest financial results.

In addition, net core residential lending was £228m, down from £575m in 2019.

Operating profit (before impairments) increased to £16.4m, compared to £16.3m in 2019.

House purchases up to highest quarterly level since 2007

Due to increased impairments in the year, profit before tax was £2.0m, compared to £14.7m for 2019.

The results also show that the standard variable rate for mortgages reduced to 3.96%.

Over £66m was invested through its financial advice subsidiary, Newcastle Financial Advisers Limited.

The society provided a £1.5m commitment to support communities across the North East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Customer engagement scores increased further with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of +78.

Andrew Haigh (pictured), chief executive of Newcastle Building Society, said: “2020 has been a year unlike any other but in many ways has served to underline the importance of our purpose, to connect communities with a better financial future.

“Although COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the Society’s operations during the year, our underlying business has continued to perform very well, reflecting our resilient core.

“We have been delighted to see high levels of customer satisfaction increase during this difficult period, reflected in an increased NPS of +78.

“It is encouraging to be able to report that even with the many challenges of the last 12 months and the increased non-recurring costs associated with COVID-19, our operating profit was slightly higher than the previous year.

“We aspire to exit this period of crisis and recovery in a stronger strategic position than we might have expected to achieve without this experience.

“We recognise that this will not be without challenge and will require a need for caution in a period of severe economic stress and facing the broader impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As our region recovers, we’re committed to playing our role through continued investment in people, skills and technology and have great confidence that our resilience and ability to adapt will help us continue to serve and support our customers, clients, colleagues and communities.”