SILSDEN-based Ecology Building Society has announced record profits of more than £1 million.

Latest figures show a profit after tax of £1.022m for last year – the first time the total has broken through the million-pound mark.

And there was a 36 per cent increase in mortgage lending.

Gross lending by the ethical finance pioneer reached £38.4m, compared to £28.2m in 2017.

Savings balances stood at £166m.

Chief executive, Paul Ellis, said: "Our continued growth and record results show that finance which benefits people and planet can be profitable.

"The recent Extinction Rebellion protests and the visit to London of young climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg have put the spotlight on the need for urgent action to tackle the climate emergency.

"Our members have long recognised the need for finance to combat climate change and they can be confident that their money is helping to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.

"We’ve been providing sustainable mortgages for more than 30 years, offering innovative discounts that base our mortgage rates on a property’s climate impact, and incentivising the most energy-efficient homes and projects.

"Initiatives such as the European Energy Efficiency Mortgage scheme, of which Ecology is a participant, and the Government’s interest in green mortgages are positive signs of growing recognition of our model.

"We have a strong pipeline of lending opportunities which will enable us to continue to grow our mortgage book throughout this year while maintaining our commitment to our core principles of sustainability."

Last year, 82 per cent of Ecology mortgages were advanced on residential properties – including new builds, renovations and shared ownership – and the remainder on community-led housing and non-residential properties such as sustainable businesses.