A MUTUAL has hailed its progress after financial growth was matched by a 1,000-strong rise in members.

Darlington Building Society says net profit and gross lending both increased in 2017, with strong asset growth and a mounting customer base paving the way for further progress.

According to the mutual’s financial results for 2017, revealed today (Thursday, March 8), asset growth increased by more than seven per cent to £585.8m, with net profit after tax rising 6.6 per cent to more than £1.5m.

Gross lending was up by more than 30 per cent, with the society ending the year with a strong capital position of £42.8m.

Highlighting demand for its services from savers and homebuyers looking to climb the housing ladder, chief executive Colin Fyfe said the mutual had more than cemented its market standing.

He said: “The results show a strong year of growth, both in terms of financial results and the number of members we have, which has increased by over 1,000 in the year.

"Our commitment to providing unique products to assist savers and to help first-time buyers has aided that growth.”

Mr Fyfe, who is originally from Larkhall, near Motherwell, in Scotland, and formerly worked at Clydesdale Bank, said the society’s successes mean it has been able to help the community.

He said a commitment to share five per cent of its profits has made a positive difference to more than 8,600 people in the region through donations worth in excess of £70,000 to local causes in 2017.

He also praised the mutual’s growing reputation in the marketplace, which recently saw the business pick up an industry accolade.

“It is an honour to support many causes, such as St Teresa’s Hospice and Theatre Hullaballoo, on behalf of our members,” said Mr Fyfe.

“We are also very proud to have been recognised nationally by the British Bank Awards, by being named the Best Savings Provider.

“The award is based on the views of the public and we received an average customer satisfaction score of 97.3 per cent for the year.”