Profit before tax was up 11 per cent to £4.2m in the six months to September, while prime owner-occupied mortgage balances also increased 11 per cent to £2.6bn.
First time buyers represented 28 per cent of the £478m of new lending during the period, up eight per cent on the previous year.
West Brom chief executive Jonathan Westhoff commented: “I am pleased to report a period of solid progress for the society during which we have continued to support the financial wellbeing of our membership. Profits achieved represented an 11 per cent improvement in underlying performance and will be used to deliver further member benefits for savers and borrowers alike.
“We have successfully increased new lending for home ownership and channelled more than a quarter of these funds to help buyers taking their first step onto the property ladder. There is still demand for mortgages, with borrowers understandably favouring longer term fixed rate products given that bank base rate has finally moved and future rises are to be expected.”
He believes that despite potentially unsettling higher interest rates homeowners are “generally well placed to cope financially.” This belief is supported by evidence of a reduction in the number of residential mortgage holders being in arrears.
Westhoff speculated that savers are welcoming the chance to earn better returns on their investments and he added: “We remain committed to serving customers through our regional branch network, however we also recognise the need to invest in our technological capabilities. This is key to achieving future growth and also plays an important part in our defence against the risk of cyber-crime.
“Although the West Brom operates a traditional building society model built around the provision of savings, investments and mortgages, we must still ensure we adapt to the changing trends in how people view, manage and transact with their money.
“It is this flexible and forward-thinking approach that puts us in a strong position to deliver against our core objectives for the remainder of the financial year, helping more members purchase their own homes and plan for a secure future.”