The Cumberland Building Society has released healthy financial figures as chair John Hooper prepares to step down at its forthcoming AGM.

The Carlisle-based mutual experienced an increase in mortgage lending from £2.37bn to £2.59bn in the year to March, while savings balances climbed from £2.61bn to £2.81bn.

Its operating profit also saw a leap, rising 29 per cent to £27.4m and the balance sheet reached an all-time high of £3.2 billion.

Commenting on the results, outgoing chair Mr Hooper said: "It has been another year of steady progress despite repeated increases in the Bank of England’s base rates to a level not seen since early 2008.

“That spike in rates brought relief for savers but pain for borrowers and it dampened demand in the housing market.”

The Cumberland’s customer-focused approach was reflected in slower pass-on increases to borrowers this year, and it was also quick to raise savings rates in response to interest rate hikes.

The Cumberland made charitable donations amounting to £369,958.

The main recipient of these donations was FareShare Lancashire and Cumbria which supports a network of 52 food banks across the region.

Additionally, its ‘pledge for votes’ scheme, where the Society donates £2 for every vote cast at its annual general meeting (AGM), greatly benefited FareShare Lancashire and Cumbria.

Its vehicle leasing subsidiary, Borderway Finance, performed well and its commercial lending to the hospitality sector saw modest growth despite tough trading conditions.

CEO of The Cumberland, Des MooreCEO of The Cumberland, Des Moore (Image: Supplied)

The Cumberland continued to invest in its technology overhaul programme, however CEO Des Moore has highlighted that technology will not replace human interaction.

He said: "We are the last financial institution standing in 16 locations throughout our region.

"We’ve retained our branches because a significant number of customers prefer face-to-face contact."

Committing to a greener future, The Cumberland is refurbishing its main branch in Carlisle, including the installation of solar panels and other energy-conserving measures.

The Cumberland has improved its rankings in the annual Best Companies survey and retained the Platinum Trusted Service Award from Feefo for four consecutive years.

It also received high praise for its approach to staff wellbeing at the British HR Awards.

The Cumberland has also made strides in advancing the careers of female colleagues, with 50 per cent of executive and board level roles being held by women, up from 19 per cent five years ago.