Nationwide profit more than doubles on UK economic rebound

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside a Nationwide Building Society in London

LONDON (Reuters) -Nationwide Building Society reported half-year profits more than doubled on Friday, as it cashed in on Britain’s economic rebound.

The customer-owned mortgage lender reported pretax profits of 853 million pounds ($1.15 billion) for the six months to September, compared with 361 million pounds the previous year.

Britain’s second-biggest provider of home loans, Nationwide competes with the country’s big banks but unlike them is owned by its customers.

Nationwide managed to grow profits through the COVID-19 pandemic, partly by cutting costs and taking lower provisions than rivals against potential bad loans as it does not lend to businesses.

In common with other British banks that reported earnings in recent weeks, Nationwide’s results were boosted by a release of cash it had set aside against soured debts that never materialised.

The lender unlocked 34 million pounds of such provisions as the economic outlook improved, compared with the same period a year ago when it took a 139 million pound charge against expected bad loans.

($1 = 0.7407 pounds)

(Reporting by Lawrence White Editing by Iain Withers and Mark Potter)

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