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Scottish Widows Bank H1 profits up 26%

Scottish Widows Bank, the UK telephone mortgage and savings bank arm of the life and pensions player of the dame name, with no branches, has recorded GBP13.5 million in profits during the first six months of 2006, up 26% on the previous year.

The Edinburgh-based lender, part of the Lloyds TSB Group, also saw mortgage lending increase by 12% to GBP5.1 billion, while customer deposits were up 9% to GBP2.7 billion.

The figures for the half were a record for the lender, which recorded a 42% cost-to-income ratio for the six months compared with 48% a year earlier.

The niche mortgage provider managed to escape the current price-war going on in the first-time buyer market, according to reports from The Herald.

The report also said the group’s managing director, Graeme Hartop, defended the group’s decision not to pass on the full 0.25% bank rate rise to its savers, despite hiking up its mortgage rate by the full amount from September 1. He attributed the partial rise to a number of changes in the market place.