The UK’s Nationwide Building Society has reported a 155% rise in underlying half year profits, boosted by the account switching service and Help to Buy.
In the six months to the end of September, 214,000 customers opened new current accounts with Nationwide, a 16% rise on last year. 25% of those customers were switching from other banks and the building society said that since the 7 day switch came in, there had been a 30% rise in customers switching to Nationwide.
In a statement last week, the mutual said: "In recent weeks we have seen representations made to the Treasury select committee in its investigation into the Co-operative Banking Group, which stated that ‘it is going to be difficult going forwards for a mutual to be a really serious competitor in the retail banking market’.
"We strongly disagree. We are making tangible progress in growing our market shares and continue to demonstrate that we offer a real, consistent and viable alternative to the UK banks. In short, we are a really serious competitor."
The boost has brought Nationwide’s total current accounts to 5.3m, lifting its market share by 0.8% to 6%.
The mortgage side of the business has also been lifted by the Help to Buy initiative. Mortgage lending by Nationwide was up 37% to £14bn ($22bn), making the first half of the year its highest six month lending period for five years.
Nationwide granted 16% of all the mortgages issued under the coalition government’s Help to Buy scheme.
Nationwide’s underlying revenues were up 25% to £1.4bn, while underlying profit rose 155% to £332m, up from just £130m in 2012.