The poor savings habits of Australians attracted the media’s attention last week. Just 34 per cent of 2,000 respondents surveyed by Datamonitor saved a deposit of 20 per cent or more to purchase their home; 15 per cent had no deposit at all.
The higher cost of funding failed to dampen the spirits of lenders last week, with many reporting strong profits for the half year to December 07.
Australian Credit Union achieved a 4.5 per cent increase in net profits to $5.96 million while Bendigo Bank recorded a 34.1 per cent increase in net profit to $72.8 million. Brokerage Mortgage Choice delivered a $10.6 million return in net profits.
Wide Bay Australia also met its forecast – recording an after tax profit of $8.3 million. Wholesale and transactional banking provider Cuscal reported a similar total profit of $8.6 million for the six months to 31 December 2007.
Moving onto other news, last week saw the Australian Prudential Regulatory Association (APRA) warn the mortgage industry to prepare for a difficult year ahead. Chairman John Laker requested detailed plans from institutions outlining how they intended to finance operations this year – warning that the next 12 months would require “very careful management”.
Graham Wolfe, HIA’s NSW director, also commented that there is a shortfall of at least 20,000 new dwellings being built each year to meet the demands of a growing Australian population.
In a strong return to the market, RAMS Home Loans unveiled it’s come back campaign of “RAMS can, so can you”. The lender’s general manager Rob Graham emphasised during the campaign launch that RAMS will continue to offer leading products for first home-buyers, self-employed borrowers and investors.
BankWest also launched its new discounted loan, priced 75 basis points below the average standard variable rate loan. While the new product is well geared for the bank’s ambitious new retail drive, brokers will have to accept a reduced up-front commission if they are to make the product available to their clients.
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