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Do Australians prefer banks to brokers?

Do Australians prefer banks to brokers?

With sweeping changes to mortgage broker remuneration on the table in the wake of the recent banking royal commission, new figures indicate that Australian mortgage holders may be more satisfied with their experience when applying for a mortgage directly through a bank branch.

According to the Roy Morgan Single Source Survey, home loan customers who obtained their loan in person at a bank branch enjoyed a 77.2% satisfaction rating, compared to 75.1% satisfaction for those who used a mortgage broker. Even when looking solely at recent home loans from the past 6 years, satisfaction with going to a branch to obtain the loan was 79.8% compared to 77.7% for mortgage brokers.

However, outpacing both brokers and branches was mobile bank representatives. Mortgage holders who obtained their home loan by meeting in person with a mobile bank representative enjoyed a satisfaction rate of 80.6%, according to Roy Morgan.

Which banks get more satisfaction from brokers over branches?

While the survey found that on average, mortgage holders enjoy greater overall satisfaction from dealing with mobile bank representatives and branches compared to dealing with brokers, it also found that customers were more satisfied with brokers than branches when applying for home loans from selected lenders, including St.George, Bankwest and NAB.

Home loan customer satisfaction

BankHome loan through branchHome loan through mortgage broker
Bendigo Bank89.6%N/A
St.George79.6%83.9%
Suncorp Bank79.1%72.6%
ANZ76.5%67.3%
Bankwest76.3%81.0%
Westpac72.0%65.8%
CBA71.4%67.1%
NAB70.8%71.7%

Roy Morgan industry communication director, Norman Morris, said:

“Although mortgage brokers have had a number of negative issues highlighted by the Royal Commission, there is a large variation in their satisfaction across the major banks and as a result there will be lessons to be learnt by understanding the better performers.”

Are brokers or branches more popular?

While mobile bank representatives enjoyed higher satisfaction scores in the Roy Morgan survey compared to branches and brokers, these representatives were found to be responsible for signing a relatively small fraction of Australia’s home loans.

The survey found that over half (53.1%) of all current mortgages were obtained in person at a bank branch, while approximately one third (33.4%) were purchased through a mortgage broker, and just 8.1% were obtained in person with a mobile bank representative.

Method used to obtain loanPercentage
In person at a branch53.1%
Mortgage broker33.4%
In person with a mobile bank representative8.1%
Over the phone3.1%
Other2.3%

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Property & Personal Finance Writer Nick Bendel before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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Learn more about home loans

Why does Westpac charge an early termination fee for home loans?

The Westpac home loan early termination fee or break cost is applicable if you have a fixed rate home loan and repay part of or the whole outstanding amount before the fixed period ends. If you’re switching between products before the fixed period ends, you’ll pay a switching break cost and an administrative fee. 

The Westpac home loan early termination fee may not apply if you repay an amount below the prepayment threshold. The prepayment threshold is the amount Westpac allows you to repay during the fixed period outside your regular repayments.

Westpac charges this fee because when you take out a home loan, the bank borrows the funds with wholesale rates available to banks and lenders. Westpac will then work out your interest rate based on you making regular repayments for a fixed period. If you repay before this period ends, the lender may incur a loss if there is any change in the wholesale rate of interest.

Cash or mortgage – which is more suitable to buy an investment property?

Deciding whether to buy an investment property with cash or a mortgage is a matter or personal choice and will often depend on your financial situation. Using cash may seem logical if you have the money in reserve and it can allow you to later use the equity in your home. However, there may be other factors to think about, such as whether there are other debts to pay down and whether it will tie up all of your spare cash. Again, it’s a personal choice and may be worth seeking personal advice.

A mortgage is a popular option for people who don’t have enough cash in the bank to pay for an investment property. Sometimes when you take out a mortgage you can offset your loan interest against the rental income you may earn. The rental income can also help to pay down the loan.

What are the features of home loans for expats from Westpac?

If you’re an Australian citizen living and working abroad, you can borrow to buy a property in Australia. With a Westpac non-resident home loan, you can borrow up to 80 per cent of the property value to purchase a property whilst living overseas. The minimum loan amount for these loans is $25,000, with a maximum loan term of 30 years.

The interest rates and other fees for Westpac non-resident home loans are the same as regular home loans offered to borrowers living in Australia. You’ll have to submit proof of income, six-month bank statements, an employment letter, and your last two payslips. You may also be required to submit a copy of your passport and visa that shows you’re allowed to live and work abroad.

What are the responsibilities of a mortgage broker?

Mortgage brokers act as the go-between for borrowers looking for a home loan and the lenders offering the loan. They offer personalised advice to help borrowers choose the right home loan for their needs.

In Australia, mortgage brokers are required by law to carry an Australian Credit License (ACL) if they offer credit assistance services. Which is the legal term for guidance regarding the different kinds of credit offered by lenders, including home loan mortgages. They may not need this license if they are working for an aggregator, for instance, as a franchisee. In both these situations, they need to comply with the regulations laid down by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

These regulations, which are stipulated by Australian legislation, require mortgage brokers to comply with what are called “responsible lending” and “best interest” obligations. Responsible lending obligations mean brokers have to suggest “suitable” home loans. This means loans that you can easily qualify for,  actually meet your needs, and don’t prove unnecessarily challenging for you.

Starting 1 January 2021, mortgage brokers must comply with best interest obligations in addition to responsible lending obligations. These require mortgage brokers to act in the best interest of their customers and also requires them to prioritise their customers’ interests over their own. For instance, a mortgage broker may not recommend a lender who gives them a commission if that lender’s home loan offer does not benefit that particular customer.