Adelaide Bank offers most affordable home loans, research finds
BEING with the most affordable mortgage provider can save nearly $5000 a year, university research reveals.
The research compares 12 years of rate data from 39 Australian lenders and reveals the gap between the top and bottom to be almost 1 percentage point.
On a $500,000 loan that equates to $94 a week or $4888 a year, said Swinburne University economics professor Abbas Valadkhani, who did the research published in the current Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions & Money.
“You could have a nice holiday, or pay for education with that,” Melbourne-based Professor Valadkhani told News Corp Australia.
He also examined by how much and for how long lenders jacked up rates during and after the GFC.
The research finds the most affordable and reliable mortgage provider to be the Adelaide Bank, which lends $17 billion to 82,000 home-loan customers, mostly outside South Australia.
Adelaide Bank general manager Damian Percy said it benefited from focusing on home loans — it doesn’t offer credit cards or insurance — and from selling through mortgage brokers, which is cheaper. Plus it had stable and affordable funding from deposits held by parent company Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
“Each time a rate decision needs to be made we ensure we are acting in the interest of our shareholders — and customers,” Mr Percy said.
Second in the research rankings is the nation’s largest credit union, CUA, which has 40,000 mortgage customers mainly in NSW, Queensland and Victoria, who have borrowed $8 billion.
CUA CEO Chris Whitehead said being customer-owned was an advantage.
“We do have the option to forgo profit for a period,” Mr Whitehead said. During the GFC it had on occasion cut rates when others were increasing, he added.
Still, both Mr Whitehead and Mr Percy said that since the GFC borrowers had gravitated towards the major banks. This is backed by official data.
“I don’t think people are becoming more aware” of competitive alternatives, Mr Whitehead said. “For many people, it still seems to be set and forget. That allows the banks to change the pricing over time.”
Professor Valadkhani found many lenders — not just banks — have done this.
The bottom-ranked lender was the tiny Arab Bank, which only lends $220 million. Treasurer Neil Stevenson said its main product was actually its Basic Loan, which is 1 percentage point cheaper than the published standard variable rate (SVR).
Second-last was Citi, which has $5.6 billion on loan. A spokesman said: “Citi’s current discounted variable and fixed home loan rates are some of the best in the market. Although our SVR has been higher, customers don’t simply look at this rate.”
Gary and Jacqui Gliddon of Greenwith in northwest Adelaide have formally compared the loan market four times since 2000 and Adelaide Bank has come out on top every time, which is why they’ve never left.
“They have competitive rates and minimal fees — it all just fits,” Mr Gliddon said.
The Tobins of Woonona in Wollongong moved to CUA last year. He suggested his daughter Emily and son Andrew do likewise — and they did.
“I couldn’t recommend them highly enough,” Mr Tobin said. One of the things that impressed him was that CUA kept its rates lower during and post the GFC.
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