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TSB warns over interest rates despite profits boost

Published 21/07/2016

File photo dated 29/03/15 of a branch of TSB bank in Greenwich, London, as the challenger bank called on regulators to use the
File photo dated 29/03/15 of a branch of TSB bank in Greenwich, London, as the challenger bank called on regulators to use the "full force of competition" to help it break the stranglehold of the Big Five banks in the UK as it posted a surge in profits and new customers.

High street lender TSB has warned profits will come under pressure as rock bottom interest rates and soaring IT costs are set to weigh on the group.

TSB - spun out from Lloyds Banking Group three years ago and then taken over by Spanish rival Banco de Sabadell last March - saw profits more than double in the first half of 2016, but said the performance was unlikely to be repeated in 2017 as it faces a tougher year.

Lenders and challenger banks in particular are set to be hit hard by expected interest rate cuts as the Bank of England moves to shore up the economy after the Brexit vote, as this will impact already under-pressure profit margins.

TSB is also facing a £125 million hike to costs for IT systems next year, which it must pay former owner Lloyds.

The group posted a 144.8% surge in underlying profits on a management basis to £107.7 million for the six months to the end of June.

On a bottom line basis, pre-tax profits jumped to £125.4 million, up from £23.2 million a year earlier.

But the group sai d: " The expectation of lower for longer interest rates and the contractual increase in IT platform costs in 2017 will have a bearing on the financial performance in future periods."

The group added that it saw a rise in mortgage appointments being cancelled in the immediate days after the Brexit vote, but said this was a "blip" and plans to continue to grow its lending book despite uncertainty caused by the referendum decision.

TSB saw total lending jump 29% year-on-year to £27.9 billion in the first half, boosted by the addition of 27,000 former Northern Rock mortgages and loans.

It has created a new brand called Whistletree to manage Northern Rock mortgage accounts.

TSB also saw customer deposits rise 13% to £28.1 billion in the half-year, while it said it attracted more than 1,250 new customers on average every day.

It added that 7% of customers opening a new bank account or switching banks chose TSB in the first half of 2016.

Paul Pester, chief executive of TSB, said: "Looking forward, our mission remains unchanged. In an uncertain world, TSB's solid foundations - plus the additional firepower provided by Sabadell - will support our responsible growth strategy."

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