ST. PETER PORT, Guernsey, October 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
True business success stories are hard to come by in the current economic climate. This month, in Guernsey, they are celebrating just that, with 10 years of local mortgage lending by Skipton International.
In October 2002 Skipton Guernsey, as it was then called, bought Jersey based Standard Chartered Grindlay's Guernsey mortgage book and at the same time moved in to its own offices at Fairbairn House with its own staff, having previously operated in Guernsey as a managed bank since 1995. The changes marked the start of local Guernsey mortgage lending operations in Guernsey and the beginning of the bank as an independent operation. Previously, the bank had specialised in offering savings accounts to both the local and global expatriate markets, an area of activity which has also grown rapidly over the last 10 years
Market conditions were very different ten years ago. Throughout 2002, the UK Bank of England Base Rate stood at 4%, in stark contrast to their historically low level of 0.5% today. The Base Rate was slowly being cut, partially in response to the weakening economic prospects following the end of the dot com boom and rates would eventually reach a low point of 3.5% in July 2003, before rising again to 5.75% in July 2007, as the Bank of England sought to control growth and inflationary pressures.
House prices in Guernsey were still rising fast at that time too. According to States data, the median average house price rose from £205,000 at the start of 2002 to £245,000 just 12 months later, an increase of 20%. Skipton International's mortgage business grew in tandem, but always with a careful approach to its lending. It handles all applications in Guernsey and offers a personalised approach to lending which means the bank has a thorough understanding of each customer's circumstances before they take on a mortgage and as result the bank has never had to repossess a property since lending operations started.
The range of offshore savings accounts available then was similar to that of today, with customers able to choose from a mixture of easy access, notice and fixed rate accounts, all with an emphasis on safety and simplicity of operation. Savers with Skipton International have always benefited from the security of having Skipton Building Society guaranteeing to discharge any liabilities of Skipton International that it cannot discharge out of its own assets whilst the bank remained a subsidiary of the UK building society. However, it was not until 26 November 2008 that a local deposit protection scheme was introduced by the States of Guernsey, which in the event of the failure of a Guernsey Bank, provides compensation of up to £50,000 per qualifying deposit in respect of that organisation (subject to certain limitations). Savers with Skipton International have the added comfort of knowing that the guarantee provided by their parent organisation applies across all of their deposits.
This focus on the customer has seen Skipton International's business go from strength to strength over the last 10 years, with mortgage lending increasing 6 fold to currently support customers owning over 1,400 Guernsey homes and nearly 1,000 Jersey homes. The bank is also now one of the most important organisations for savers looking for a safe and reliable home for their savings and with a regularly updated portfolio of short and medium term notice accounts and fixed term guaranteed rate sterling deposits, the bank aims to offer customers a wide range of choice, whatever their need. The market has responded well to Skipton International's range of competitively priced savings accounts and its commitment to update savers whenever interest rates change. Since 2009, the bank has won at least one award every year from major industry commentators such as Moneyfacts, Nexus and Investment International and its sterling savings accounts regularly appear in the major industry "best buy" columns.
Skipton International is an important contributor to community life. Having supported the Floral Guernsey festival continuously from its start for 15 years, in 2010, the bank took over as lead sponsor of the renamed Skipton Swimarathon, one of Guernsey's oldest continuously running charities. The last three years have seen the event rejuvenated, with increasing numbers of swimmers entering to raise money to support important local good causes such as the Ron Short Centre, the building of the Xtreme Sports park and this year, Guernsey's Cardiac Action Group, who are raising money to fund the installation of public access defibrillators throughout the community in a potentially lifesaving project. In addition Skipton International supports a number of other community events such as Liberation Day and the Winter Wonderland. This year it also commenced sponsorship of the Skipton Open Studios events, organised by the Jersey Arts Trust, reflecting continuing growth and success in the island.
Managing Director Jim Coupe is looking forward to the new challenges facing the bank. Commenting on the prospects for the next few years, he said, "There is no doubt that we are still emerging from one of the toughest periods on record. You simply need to compare the number of independent organisations offering savings and mortgage services today with the picture ten years ago. In difficult markets, customers look for strength, transparency and service and we have always focused on these as pillars of our business. We pride ourselves on our approach to customer service, taking the time to make sure every customer has an appropriate mortgage or savings account for their circumstances. We believe it is this personalised, individual approach which has stood us in such good stead. You could argue these are local values, but we also see them as good business sense as well and clearly this customer focus has paid off."
- AER stands for Annual Equivalent Rate and illustrates what the rate would be if interest was paid and added each year.
- Skipton International Limited (SIL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Skipton Building Society (SBS), the UK's 4th largest building society with nearly £14 billion assets.
- SIL is licensed under the Banking Supervision (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 1994, as amended.
- Skipton Building Society has given an undertaking agreeing to discharge the liabilities of SIL in so far as SIL is unable to discharge them out of its own assets and whilst SIL remains a subsidiary of Skipton Building Society.
- As a Licensed Bank in Guernsey, Skipton International Limited is a participant in the Guernsey Banking Deposit Compensation Scheme (the "Scheme") established by The Banking Deposit Compensation Scheme (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2008 (the "Ordinance"). The following is a brief summary of the Scheme, but is not intended as a substitute for the actual wording of the Ordinance, a copy of which is available on request.
- The Scheme only applies to 'qualifying deposits', which broadly means deposits made by natural persons for their own benefit; with a few limited exceptions such as, for example, deposits made by trustees of retirement annuity trust schemes, the Scheme does not apply to companies, trusts, partnerships or charities.
- The Scheme will provide compensation in the event that a Licensed Bank is unable to repay its depositors. Under normal circumstances, payment will be made within 3 months of receipt of a valid claim form.
- Compensation is limited to a maximum of £50,000 per individual claimant; in the case of a joint account each depositor would be entitled.
- Total Scheme compensation in any five year period is limited to £100 million. If claims exceed this cap, compensation would be reduced pro rata. The cap also means that compensation in respect of any one bank cannot exceed £100 million.
- The amount payable may be reduced if the Bank has any contractual right of set-off against the account. The Scheme is entitled to recover compensation from any funds subsequently paid out by the Bank.
- Further information and a leaflet about the Scheme is available at:
Telephone: +44 (0) 1481 722756
Post: P.O. Box 380, St Peter Port, GY1 3FY
- Deposits made with SIL are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme established under the UK Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
- Copies of the latest SIL audited accounts are available on request.
For more information on Skipton International savings products, visit http://www.skiptoninternational.com or call +44 (0) 1481 727374
Media contacts: Please contact:
Guy Stephenson/Jennifer Duffy
SOURCE Nacelle Ltd