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Graham Awards


Building Society defends using humans, not algorithms, to decide mortgages

Leek Building Society has used its annual report and publication of accounts to mount a stout defence of its methodology regarding mortgage applications.

The report says: “A central component of the Leek’s lending strategy is that it does not use automatic credit scoring to make mortgage decisions. All mortgages are individually reviewed and underwritten by an experienced underwriting team. This bespoke approach represents the key to the excellent quality of the Society’s mortgage book and its high customer satisfaction ratings. 

“At the same time, the Leek recognises the increasing importance of technology to the mortgage process and is currently in the early stages of rolling out Iress’s cutting edge MSO technology which will streamline the mortgage application and completion journey for brokers and customers. “


Leek Building Society’s mortgage offering includes lending on new build properties and flats up to 95% LTV for residential mortgages and up to 75% LTV for Buy to Let mortgages. The Society welcomes BTL applications from non-homeowners and those looking to let their property out to family members, providing support to those purchasing their first BTL property through to those with an established portfolio.

In what it calls a demonstration of responsiveness to feedback from brokers, the society has entered both the Limited Company BTL and Holiday Let markets and recently added Shared Ownership to its offering. The Leek has also augmented its suite of products with a Green Further Advance mortgage. 

Leek Building Society was named Britain’s Best Building Society at the 2023 British Bank Awards and was awarded a 5 star rating from Smart Money People for its service to mortgage brokers in the second half of 2023, achieving an overall satisfaction rating of more than 90%. In addition, for the sixth consecutive year, the Leek was recognised in the Personal Finance Awards in the category of Best Variable Rate Mortgage Lender.

Chief Executive Andrew Healy says: “While these results highlight our excellent financial health, what is most pleasing is the highly rounded nature of our performance. As a mutual, we don’t of course seek to maximise profits but it is in the interest of the Society’s long-term competitiveness and sustainability that sufficient profits are generated to maintain our financial resilience and to ensure there is ongoing investment in our business.

“Our mortgage and savings growth levels significantly outperformed the market evidencing the competitiveness of our offerings in challenging times and we’re hugely proud of the support we’ve provided to our members and colleagues throughout the cost-of-living crisis. We continued to invest in new technology during the year, including our new mortgage platform, completed our branch and head office refurbishment programmes and not only maintained but stepped up even further the high standards we set for ourselves in terms of risk management, customer service and culture. The future for our Society has never been brighter.”


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