Contrary to reports in The Australian Financial Review today, Steve Weston, Challenger’s general manager of residential and commercial lending, said that the Challenger Howard Mortgage Fund had not “frozen” investor withdrawals.
Mr Weston told Mortgage Business that the report was somewhat sensationalised and the government’s bank-only deposit guarantee scheme will not impact Challenger’s commercial lending capabilities.
The AFR reported that Challenger had frozen withdrawals as the government’s deposit guarantee scheme prompted a run of withdrawals to bank deposits.
Mr Weston said Challenger had, more correctly, adjusted withdrawal criteria.
According to Mr Weston, the deposit guarantee scheme would not affect Challenger’s commercial lending capabilities.
“We have various funding pots available for commercial lending so for Challenger commercial loans this has no impact,” Mr Weston said.
Mr Weston did however express some concern for the wider non-bank sector in the wake of the Government’s move to shore up the banking sector.
“For those commercial lenders for whom this is their sole source of funding things are going to be tough,” Mr Weston said.
The RBA, along with a number of investment banks have voiced their concerns over the unlimited government guarantees and its effects on the broader lending industry.
Mr Weston said however that the overall outlook for the non-bank sector was improving, pointing to the government’s recently announced $8 billion RMBS investment, of which at least $4 billion would be allocated to non-bank lenders.
“This will have a positive impact on the non-bank sector across the board”.
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