StockMarketWire.com - Specialist lending and retail savings, OSB Group, has reported a 62% increase in underlying pre-tax profit, hitting a record £252.8 million for the first half of 2021.

Statutory profit before tax more than doubled to £221.9 million, compared with £99.3 million for 2020, driven predominantly by a release of impairment provisions and a lower cost of retail funds.

The company's underlying and statutory net loan book grew by 6% to £20.3 billion and £20.4 billion, respectively in the period, while organic originations in the first six months of 2021 were £2.5 billion, up 16% from £2.1 billion in the prior period.

OSB Group has also announced an interim dividend of 4.9p, representing one-third of the total 2020 dividend, in line with the group’s stated policy.

OSB Group CEO, Andy Golding said: 'The underlying net loan book grew by 6%, supported by originations of £2.5 billion at attractive margins, as demand remained strong in our Buy-to-Let and Residential sub-segments despite the Group maintaining tighter criteria than pre-COVID.

'We continue to produce strong returns for our shareholders, with record half-yearly underlying profit before tax of £252.8 million, up 62% on the first half of 2020, earnings per share of 41.8 pence, up 60% and underlying return on equity strengthening to 24%.'

He added that based on current pipeline and application levels, the company remains 'confident to deliver underlying net loan book growth of c.10% for 2021. We now expect full year underlying NIM to be c.270bps and the underlying cost to income ratio to be marginally higher than in the first half'.

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