Nationwide profits tumble by 40% with £101m coronavirus hit

Britain’s biggest building society Nationwide has seen its profits plunge by 40% after taking a £101m hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

The lender said its underlying profit before tax plunged from £788m in 2019 to £469m this year on underlying income of just over £3bn.

It was already on course for lower profits before the COVID-19 crisis, as Nationwide wrestled with lower income and payment protection insurance (PPI) claims, while at the same time investing in technology.

The building society has earmarked £101m for expected credit losses resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.

Nationwide chief executive Joe Garner said: “In the last month of our financial year all our lives have been overshadowed by the coronavirus.

“We are helping members in financial difficulty with payment holidays on mortgages and loans and interest-free overdraft periods, and we have promised that no mortgage member will lose their home over the next 12 months due to the impact of the coronavirus.

“We’ve taken steps to protect our employees’ physical and mental health so we can maintain essential services to our members, and we’ve gone a step further and promised that everyone’s job is safe in 2020.

“We are paying our suppliers early, especially smaller ones, to help them stay in business.”

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Mr Garner added: “We believe that the character of any organisation comes very much to the fore in times like these, and we have been making our decisions very much with this in mind.”

Next week from Monday to Thursday, Dermot Murnaghan will be hosting After the Pandemic: Our New World – a series of special live programmes about what our world will be like once the pandemic is over.

We’ll be joined by some of the biggest names from the worlds of culture, politics, economics, science and technology. And you can take part too.

If you’d like to be in our virtual audience – from your own home – and put questions to the experts, email afterthepandemic@sky.uk

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