Unity Trust Bank tops £1bn lending for social impact

Unity Trust Bank tops £1bn lending for social impact

John Copping

Unity Trust Bank, which supports organisations delivering positive social impact across the UK, has reported record lending of over £1 billion in its 2023 annual results.

This marks the first time the 40-year-old bank has exceeded this milestone, with nearly half (48.2%) of its financing in Scotland and northern England going to deprived areas.

Unity’s overall lending increased by 21% to £1.01bn (2022: £836.6 million), while after-tax earnings rose to £48.9m (2022: £22.8m), resulting in a strong CET1 capital ratio of 19.7% (2022: 18.3%).

By only using customer deposits to lend to organisations that deliver quantifiable impact in local communities, Unity’s financing in 2023 helped to support 1,458 care home spaces: 572 day care and education spaces and 7,143 jobs. It also provided affordable homes for 1,225 households and 452 properties benefited from retrofitting activities.

Unity’s lending included a £750,000 sum to Glasgow-based Lomond Pharmacy.

Colin Fyfe, CEO at Unity Trust Bank, said: “Surpassing £1bn in lending for the first time is testament to the principles that Unity was founded on 40 years ago – that a bank can deliver social purpose as well as sustainable commercial returns.

“Our 2023 objectives were achieved against a backdrop of turbulent economic conditions, and supporting our customers continues to be at the core of our strategy.

“The higher bank rate environment, alongside balance sheet growth, increased financial returns for Unity in 2023 and enabled us to continue to advance our purpose and our investment in customer services.”

John Copping, regional director for the North at Unity Trust Bank, said: “Despite a challenging economic backdrop over the past 12 months, our strong financial position means that we have been able to support customers across the North. This means that when customers bank with us, their deposits support local projects that create a real social impact within their communities.”

Unity continued to strengthen its support to customers in 2023, introducing a new digital banking platform and establishing sector specific customer hubs.

Committed to developing the way it measures and manages its own contributions to people and planet, the bank joined the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financial (PACF) and released its first financed emissions reporting; strengthening its commitment to understanding its role in supporting customers facing the impacts of climate change.

Unity also maintains its carbon neutral status for its own emissions through continued engagement with the Housing Association Charitable Trust’s (HACT’s) award-winning retrofit credits programme.

Mr Fyfe added: “Unity’s vision is to become the market leader in ethical banking in the UK and we will continue to help improve the lives of local communities into the next 40 years through responsible financing.”

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