The regional bank has announced that it has begun accepting new applications for investment home loans again and has set up a new broker advocacy team.
Heritage Bank temporarily stopped accepting new applications for investment home loans on 1 September in a bid to remain within the prudential regulator's limitations on investment lending growth.
At the time, the bank said: "Heritage has experienced a sharp increase in the proportion of investment lending in our new approvals. That’s a result both of our attractive pricing structure and the actions of competitors in the marketplace.
“We need to manage our investment lending portfolio carefully to ensure we stay within the caps APRA has placed on growth in investor and interest-only lending.
“As a result, we’ve taken the decision to temporarily stop accepting applications for new investor lending.”
As well as the temporary halt in investment loans, the bank permanently changed its Family Guarantee loan packages to be owner-occupier. Investor loans are no longer eligible in these packages henceforth.
However, since placing the moratorium on investor loans, the bank has revealed that it is "now able to comply with [APRA's] regulatory requirements moving forward".
In a statement released on Monday, 9 October, Heritage Bank said: "After monitoring our approvals and loan portfolio, we believe we are now able to comply with these regulatory requirements moving forward.
"As a result, we have decided to resume lending to investors, both for principal and interest loans, and interest-only loans.
"We will continue to proactively monitor our growth and adjust our lending measures as needed."
Broker advocacy team
Speaking to The Adviser, Heritage's acting general manager for retail services added that the bank has also launched a new broker advocacy team this week.
Michael Trencher explained: "We now have four full-time members that work within the processing unit as dedicated broker advocacy members. This team will workshop with the brokers, outlining why deals didn't make it through and talking through some of the mitigants in a bid to understand more about the deal.
"Now, even after going through the team, the deal might still not be suitable to be put through, but having that level of connectivity means we can understand more of the loans that we aren't putting through. It's similar to a BDM, but our team will work with brokers over the phone. So the idea is to have more detailed discussions rather than just saying no and closing the door."
Heritage has said that the new team will have "a direct line to the head of credit" so that deals can be taken directly to them for consideration if they don't make it through automatically, "but the broker advocacy team believes there could be a deal there under the right circumstances".
"It's something a little different to try and make things work," Mr Trencher said.
Further, the bank also recently re-launched its broker site, which has a new accreditation process and is available to unaccredited brokers for the first time. According to Mr Trencher, the new site aims to provide brokers with a clearer vision of the Heritage brand and what it can offer brokers.
[Related: Bank halts investor lending]
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