By a Staff Reporter The funds of the Catholic Building Society have increased since the end of 1971 by nearly 45 per cent, the seventh highest growth rate among nearly 100 societies which published their results in last month's Building Societies Gazette,
The C.B.S.'s report for 1973 shows that total assets increased by 19.1 per cent to a record £1,482,078;. home loans rose by 4.4 per cent to a record £303,696, and savings invested were 27 per cent up at £514,876. The number of savings and mortgage accounts passed 2,000 at the end of the year.
Gross amount of savings invested in 13 years from the society's foundation to the end of 1973 exceeded £2,700,000. The gross amount advanced for house purchase in the same period now exceeds £2,000,000 and has helped nearly 500 families to buy their own homes. "In the past two years. in association with Catholic Housing Aid Society and Shelter Housing Aid Centre, a significant number of families have been rescued from threats of homelessness," the report states. "In many cases the society has re-financed home loans originally granted by finance companies at interest rates of over 30 per cent with impossibly high repayments."
The report adds that in a year when investments from the public varied considerably, building societies lent only 3 per cent less than in 1972 but the number of home loans was 20 per cent fewer. Loans to first, time house buyers were 47 per teent or the total. The Catholic Building Society lent 4.4 per cent more in 1973, with only a 4 per cent reduction in the number of home loans. Of these, 71 per cent were to first-time house buyers. The average new loan was £7,070, compared with £5,900 in 1972.
In September 1973, the society sent an eight-page memorandum to the Government indicating possible ways of reforming building society finance to give both investors
'and first-time house purchasers a better deal, in the context of inflationary conditions and increased competitionfwourr savings.dshe
end of the year the society offered first-time purchasers who had bought their homes from June 1972 onwards, and new applicants for loans, the opportunity to pay interest only on their loans for the time being, to reduce the impact of high interest rates and the reduced working week.
This is saving the average borrower £7.50 a month on his repayments to the society, says the report. It adds: "The poor inflow of savings into building societies so far this year is not reflected in our experience. January was a record month for net savings — higher than any other month in 1973 and exceeding the total of the last three months of that year."