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Mortgage shock: interest rates fall to unheard-of levels

by Nick Bendel10 minute read
The Adviser

One lender has launched a new product with a 4.34 per cent variable rate, while another has unveiled a 3.75 per cent fixed rate.

Mortgage Ezy has launched a clawback-free product called The Economizer, which is available at 4.34 per cent for loans up to $850,000 at a maximum LVR of 80 per cent.

Chief executive Peter James said this is an ongoing rate that is only available through brokers.

"Brokers have been saying they are under pressure from many internet providers and we want to put the pound back in the brokers' hands," he told The Adviser.


"We're fully committed to the broker channel, as we always have been, and we need to watch this space because there is certainly more innovation and sharp rates to come."

Meanwhile, a lender that doesn't use brokers, Community First Credit Union, has unveiled a 3.75 per cent one-year fixed rate through its online lending business, Easy Street.

The introductory rate has been lowered from 4.74 per cent and features a comparison rate of 5.15 per cent.

Chief executive John Tancevski said the 3.75 per cent rate was the lowest in Easy Street's history, but that it would still be directly profitable.

"We don't loss-lead anything. The margins will be extremely thin, but it also introduces customers to us," he told The Adviser.

"The only reason we're offering 3.75 per cent is because we've had a fantastic growth in deposits, which means we've got too much money.

"As a mutual, when you've got too much money, you give it back to members in other benefits."

Two prominent industry figures told The Adviser last month that interest rates had probably bottomed out after loans.com.au reduced its variable rate to 4.48 per cent.

However, Heritage Bank responded a week later by cutting its discount variable home loan rate from 4.69 per cent to 4.39 per cent.

Mr Tancevski said he could not imagine Easy Street or any lender going lower than 3.75 per cent, but that it couldn't be ruled out.

Brokers should not regard online lenders as a threat, he said, because they cater to a distinct section of the market that does not want face-to-face contact.

However, he also told The Adviser that borrower habits are evolving constantly.

"There are distinct markets out there and consumer choices are changing. People's appetite for different service offerings is going to continue to evolve in the next couple of years," Mr Tancevski said.

[Related: Fierce competition forcing banks to cut rates]