West Bromwich Building Society paid 6.8m to buy the broker franchise Mortgage Force in March.The building society’s annual report and accounts confirm an up-front cash sum of 6m while the 0.8m was a deferred purchase consideration. Mortgage Force’s last results before the acquisition showed a profit of 121,000 for the year ended March 31, 2004. The franchise opened ano- ther 10 outlets in what Mortgage Force chief executive Rob Clifford admits was a difficult period while the dust was settling after the acquisition. The report says Mortgage Force provides an additional dimension to the group’s operations and supports its growth plans. The franchise is wholly owned by West Brom. Clifford says: “We have been given the autonomy we were promised before acquisition. The management team has doubled in size to get us into great shape.” Gross lending for the soc-iety rose by 12 per cent to 1.8bn. The Council of Mortgage Lenders ranks West Brom as the 27th-biggest lender, with an estimated 0.4 per cent share of gross mortgage lending.