CUA is the largest credit union in Australia, with almost half a million customers and assets worth $13.75 billion. CUA is owned by its customers, not shareholders.
Its origins date back to 1946 when two small credit unions opened and joined forces to offer fairer deals than the banks. Since then, there’s been a series of amalgamations and today CUA is made up of 171 credit unions.
Formerly known as Credit Union Australia, in 2007 to rebranded to just CUA.
CUA home loans rates
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Fixed - 5 years
Fixed - 5 years
- A range of home loans to choose from.
- Suitable for low deposits.
- Parents can act as guarantors for some loans.
- Opportunity to package financial products.
- Flexible repayment schedule with weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayment options.
- Not all products offer offset facilities.
- Some products have upfront and annual fees.
CUA home loan customers can get in touch with the credit union by visiting one of its 60 plus branches Australia-wide. Alternatively customers can contact the customer service centre by phone. If home loan customers have difficulties concerning their repayments they can take advantage of CUA’s financial hardship hotline. Customers can also submit a query through the CUA website or by emailing their lender directly.
- Customer service centre (phone, email, branch)
- Mobile app
- Online banking
How to Apply
Home loan enquires can be submitted online and a CUA home loan specialist will provide a call back. There is currently no functionality for customers to apply online. Applications can be completed face-to-face in a branch or over the telephone. For straight forward banking transactions CUA customers can use internet banking and their mobile app 24-hours a day. Before customers submit their loan application it’s recommended that they consider how much they can afford to borrow before making any commitments. To support their CUA home loan application customers may need to provide several documents including:
- Personal identification.
- Personal income details.
- Details of current debts and assets.
- Information about the property.
CUA home loans
CUA caters for a wide variety of mortgage customers:
- First-home buyers
- Self-employed (low-doc)
CUA mortgage customers can choose from a range of interest rate options:
- Line of credit
The longest term offered at CUA on a home loan is 30 years, and its fixed interest rate mortgages range from 1-5 years. Depending on the product, CUA mortgages also include added features, like offset accounts, the ability to make extra repayments, and redraw facilities.
Some CUA home loans also allow a loan top-up, which gives customers the ability to use the equity in their property to pay for expenses like renovations, or for a deposit in an investment property.
CUA also offers package home loans, which include benefits and discounts on a range of products, including credit cards and insurance.
CUA home loan rates
To compete with the big banks, CUA offers mortgage rates that are generally lower than the market average.
Its owner-occupier home loan rates for customers paying principal and interest tend to be moderate to moderately low, however CUA does offer very low interest rates on some of its home loan packages for new customers and refinancers. For those paying interest-only, the rates are moderately low.
CUA investment home loans are generally moderately low, on mortgages where principal and interest are paid. For interest-only investment loans, the rates are moderate.
When it comes to home loan fees, CUA is on the cheaper end of the market. Many of its mortgages have no ongoing fees, and moderately low upfront fees. It also offers free redraw and extra repayment options on most of its products.
CUA home loan review
CUA’s headquarters are in Queensland, but CUA has 60 branches across the country and offers lower home loan rates and fees than many of its competitors in Australia. Unlike most banks that make profit for shareholders, CUA reinvests its profits and passes the benefits directly on to customers.
In 2017, CUA was named Money Magazine’s credit union of the year, in part because of its low interest rates and excellent customer service.
CUA has a wide variety of mortgages that would suit most borrowers. It offers home loans that let customers borrow up to 95 per cent of their property’s value (LVR), and allow parents to sign on as guarantors.
Unlike some of its competitors, CUA doesn’t have the capability to let customers sign up to a home loan online. Instead, applications need to be done face-to-face at a branch or over the phone.
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Most comparison sites give you information about rates, fees and features, but expect you’ll pay more with a low advertised rate and $400 ongoing fee or a slightly higher rate and no ongoing fee. The answer is different for each borrower and depends on a number of variables, in particular how big your loan is. Comparisons are either done based on just today or projected over a full 25 or 30 year loan. That’s not how people borrow these days. While you may take a 30 year loan, most borrowers will either upgrade their house or switch their home loan within the first five years.
You’re also expected to know exactly which features you want. This is fine for the experienced borrower, but most people know some flexibility is a good thing, but don’t know exactly which features offer more flexibility than others.
What is the flexibility score?
Today’s home loans often try to lure borrowers with a range of flexible features, including offset accounts, redraw facilities, repayment frequency options, repayment holidays, split loan options and portability. Real Time Ratings™ weights each of these features based on popularity and gives loans a ‘flexibility score’ based on how much they cater to borrowers’ needs over time. The aim is to give a higher score to loans which give borrowers more features and options.
They’re not always timely
In today’s competitive home loan market, lenders are releasing new offers almost daily. These offers are often some of the most attractive deals in the market, but won’t get rated by traditional ratings systems for up to a year.
The assumptions are out of date
The comparison rate is based on a loan size of $150,000 and a loan term of 25 years. However, the typical loan size is much higher than that. Million dollar loans are becoming increasingly common, especially if you live in metropolitan parts of Australia, like Sydney and Melbourne. It’s also uncommon for borrowers to hold a loan for 25 years. The typical shelf life for a home loan is a few years.
The other problem is because it’s a percentage, the difference between 3.9 or 3.7 per cent on a $500,000 doesn’t sound like much, but equals around $683 a year. Real Time Ratings™ not only looks at the difference in the monthly repayments, but it will work out the actual cost difference once fees are taken into consideration.