Athena Home Loans has announced receiving $250 million in home loan applications within four days of launching into the mortgage market.
In a bid to provide borrowers with a “genuine” credit alternative, Athena Home Loans launched owner-occupied principal and interest home loans with interest rates starting from 3.49 per cent and investment home loans with rates starting from 3.89 per cent this week.
According to the digital lender, it has already received $250 million in applications in the first four days of launching into the market.
Athena claimed that this shows an “extraordinary appetite from Australians for a genuine alternative to big bank loans.”
On the new applications, the lender reported that home owners could save an average of $70,000 over the life of their loan, while 30 per cent of customers could save $100,000.
Athena’s offering is limited to refinancers, with the lender noting that it will launch home loans for new purchases later this year.
Customer feedback has reportedly been positive regarding the “simplicity” of the application process, according to the digital lender.
Athena’s launch coincided with its release of research conducted by CoreData, which reported that the “trust gap” between lenders and borrowers has widened off the back of the banking royal commission.
According to the research, which involved a survey of 1,000 borrowers, respondents cited that the most common reasons for the widening of the trust gap were because lenders “ripped people off” (77 per cent), “were dishonest” (71 per cent) and lacked transparency (66 per cent).
The survey also found that only 25 per cent of mortgage holders think their existing lender cares about their financial wellbeing, and only 21 per cent think their lender acts in their best interests.
Further, nearly all borrowers (93 per cent) said they want to pay off their mortgage faster, but less than 20 per cent think their lender wants them to succeed.
Almost half (43 per cent) of surveyed respondents who bank with a major lender said they are considering switching lenders as a result of the banking royal commission, with 79 per cent stating they would switch if it meant they were able to pay off their home loan sooner.
Respondents said that other factors that would influence their decision to switch include a better interest rate (79 per cent), lower fees (75 per cent), flexible features (44 per cent) and better customer service (47 per cent).
Reflecting on the findings, Athena co-founder and CEO Nathan Walsh said: “The royal commission has shone a bright spotlight on a badly broken system. Legacy players are not incentivised to help borrowers achieve their goals.
“Customers have told us they want to pay off their home loan faster, and this is exactly what Athena is here to help them do.
“Our goal is to get customers a great home loan and then help them get rid of it. After all, time is money. The shorter your loan, the less you pay.”
[Related: Lender launches new mortgage products]
Ezekiel is a journalist on the mortgages, property investment and wellness titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, he was a freelance journalist for Vice Australia, Pulse Radio and the Sydney-based travel publication Global Hobo, among others.
Ezekiel studies a double Bachelor of Communications and International Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney.
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