Online lenders challenging the big banks

Online lenders challenging the big banks

As the RBA leaves the cash rate on hold, new research has revealed the average home loan customer could save $82K by switching from a big four bank, to a low rate online lender.

Comparison site RateCity is urging home loan customers unhappy with the behaviour of our major banks to shop around.

New calculations show a family with a $350K loan looking for a fully-featured mortgage, could save up to $82,118 over the life of their loan, by going with the lowest comparable online lender, instead of a major bank.

RateCity spokesperson Sally Tindall said the only way to give the majors a wake-up call is to vote with your feet.

“The big four banks have an incredible 75 per cent share of the home loan market. If you’re fed up with what’s coming out of the Royal Commission, now could be the time to switch.

“Online lenders are increasingly putting fully-featured loan products on the table – at significantly lower rates,” she said.

For example, the big four advertise fully-featured loans for about 4.5 percent, along with a hefty package fee of $395 a year, while some of the smaller lenders are offering fully-flexible loans for as little as 3.49 per cent, complete with a 100 per cent offset account and no ongoing fees.

Online lenders facts

  • Around 30% of lenders in the RateCity database are online.
  • Australia’s fifth largest home loan lender is online only (ING).
  • Nine of the 10 lowest rate lenders in our database are online lenders.

Tips for selecting an online lender

  1. Use a comparison tools, such as RateCity’s home loan comparison table, to research online lenders including ratings for each product.
  2. Find out what services they offer to field customer enquiries.
  3. Test out their call centre and online chat service.
  4. Read online reviews of the lender, particularly any social media feedback they’ve received.
  5. Make sure they have a comprehensive website, that’s easy to use. If they bury things like fees and charges, it could be a red flag.

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Learn more about home loans

What do mortgage brokers do?

Mortgage brokers are finance professionals who help borrowers organise home loans with lenders. As such, they act as middlemen between borrowers and lenders.

While bank staff recommend home loan products only from their own employer, brokers are independent, so they can recommend products from a range of institutions.

Brokers need to be accredited with a particular lender to be able to work with that lender. A typical broker will be accredited with anywhere from 10 to 30 lenders – the big four banks, as well as a range of smaller banks, credit unions and non-bank lenders.

As a general rule, brokers don’t charge consumers for their services; instead, they receive commissions from lenders whenever they place a borrower with that institution.

What happens to your mortgage when you die?

There is no hard and fast answer to what will happen to your mortgage when you die as it is largely dependent on what you have set out in your mortgage agreement, your will (if you have one), other assets you may have and if you have insurance. If you have co-signed the mortgage with another person that person will become responsible for the remaining debt when you die.

If the mortgage is in your name only the house will be sold by the bank to cover the remaining debt and your nominated air will receive the remaining sum if there is a difference. If there is a turn in the market and the sale of your house won’t cover the remaining debt the case may go to court and the difference may have to be covered by the sale of other assets.  

If you have a life insurance policy your family may be able to use some of the lump sum payment from this to pay down the remaining mortgage debt. Alternatively, your lender may provide some form of mortgage protection that could assist your family in making repayments following your passing.

What is breach of contract?

A failure to follow all or part of a contract or breaking the conditions of a contract without any legal excuse. A breach of contract can be material, minor, actual or anticipatory, depending on the severity of the breaches and their material impact.

Why should you trust Real Time Ratings?

Real Time Ratings™ was conceived by a team of data experts who have been analysing trends and behaviour in the home loan market for more than a decade. It was designed purely to meet the evolving needs of home loan customers who wish to merge low cost with flexible features quickly. We believe it fills a glaring gap in the market by frequently re-rating loan products based on the changes lenders make daily.

Real Time Ratings™ is a new idea and will change over time to match the frequently-evolving demands of the market. Some things won’t change though – it will always rate all relevent products in our database and will not be influenced by advertising.

If you have any feedback about Real Time Ratings™, please get in touch.

Savings over

Select a number of years to see how much money you can save with different home loans over time.

e.g. To see how much you could save in two years by switching mortgages,  set the slider to 2.

What is bridging finance?

A loan of shorter duration taken to buy a new property before a borrower sells an existing property, usually taken to cover the financial gap that occurs while buying a new property without first selling an older one.

Usually, these loans have higher interest rates and a shorter repayment duration.

Mortgage Calculator, Interest Rate

The percentage of the loan amount you will be charged by your lender to borrow. 

Mortgage Calculator, Loan Amount

How much you intend to borrow. 

How much information is required to get a rating?

You don’t need to input any information to see the default ratings. But the more you tell us, the more relevant the ratings will become to you. We take your personal privacy seriously. If you are concerned about inputting your information, please read our privacy policy.

What is a fixed home loan?

A fixed rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, usually between one and 15 years. The advantage of a fixed rate is that you know exactly how much your repayments will be for the duration of the fixed term. There are some disadvantages to fixing that you need to be aware of. Some products won’t let you make extra repayments, or offer tools such as an offset account to help you reduce your interest, while others will charge a significant break fee if you decide to terminate the loan before the fixed period finishes.

Interest Rate

Your current home loan interest rate. To accurately calculate how much you could save, an accurate interest figure is required. If you are not certain, check your bank statement or log into your mortgage account.

Remaining loan term

The length of time it will take to pay off your current home loan, based on the currently-entered mortgage balance, monthly repayment and interest rate.

Monthly Repayment

Your current monthly home loan repayment. To accurately calculate how much you could save, an accurate payment figure is required. If you are not certain, check your bank statement.

Mortgage Calculator, Repayment Frequency

How often you wish to pay back your lender.