Leeds Building Society achieves record numbers

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POLICYMAKERS should consider imposing a break on the volume of new regulations facing the financial services sector, according to the chief executive of Leeds Building Society.

Peter Hill said a slowdown in the pace of regulatory reform would give watchdogs and financial services firms the “time and space” to think about the potential problems of the future.

Mr Hill made the comments after Leeds Building Society revealed that its pre-tax profit increased by 55 per cent in the first half of 2014 to £38.6m.

Over the half year, the mutual attracted 39,000 new members, taking its total membership to a record 722,000.

New residential mortgage lending also increased by 29 per cent to £1.19bn.

Mr Hill told the Yorkshire Post: “We have seen a huge amount of regulation over the past five years. On the one hand, you think that’s very understandable, we have been through a significant financial crisis, that was predominantly out of the actions of the financial services sector globally,

“Clearly, regulators want to make sure that we don’t have a repeat of that. But the traction on the amount of regulation that’s coming through is such that you do start to feel that there is a huge drag factor. So we have just implemented the Mortgage Market Review and we’re now working on the European Mortgage Credit Directive. So that will be yet more regulation around mortgages, which I think will be very unlikely to provide real protection to UK consumers.

“We’re getting to a point where we need to see a break on the volume of regulation that’s coming through, so that it can settle down and it can be assimilated.

“What regulators and firms need to do, is not so much focus on what caused the previous crisis, but to have the time and space to think about where future problems may lie.

“It’s right that things needed to change post the financial crisis, but there does need to be a line drawn that says, ‘We’ve probably done enough.’

“Whenever you make any kind of change, you need some time for that change to settle down and embed, and become effective.”

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