Cumberland Building Society has reported an £8.3 million pre-tax profit as it saw the highest level of business mortgage approvals in its history.

The regional society announced its annual results this week and said it had another year of strong performance.

Its total residential lending increased to £2 billion, including £377m of gross new lending during the year.

Its commercial lending book, which rose by 8.1 per cent in the year to £179m.

The Cumberland’s annual report said it has undertaken extensive investment in its staff, IT and a branch upgrade programme also began.

The report also highlights how community engagement has been high on the building society’s agenda, with a landmark decision to increase the amount it donates to charitable and community groups to 1.5 per cent of net profits.

This places it in the top two per cent globally of companies who support charitable giving. The society has distributed over £200,000 to good causes during the year. It has also pledged to donate £1 for every vote received at its AGM in July.

John Hooper, chairman, said: “Set against a backdrop of significant and necessary reinvestment, this is a solid performance. We have been focused on bringing our Cumberland 2025 vision alive – our strategy for becoming a truly sustainable business – while launching our Brighter Banking promise, which puts our customers, our communities and our people at the heart of everything we do.

“In the face of extraordinarily tough economic, political and health challenges, the Cumberland has continued to deliver exceptional experiences to its customers and members.”

Des Moore, chief executive, added: “These are good results for our business. We are significantly improving our capability and capacity for change by developing our people.

“Looking ahead, much of this year will be focused on continuing to support our customers, communities and people through the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent recovery.

“This is a challenging time for all of us, but I have no doubt that together we will emerge stronger.”