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CUA set to tackle big banks

by Staff Reporter8 minute read
The Adviser

Credit Union Australia (CUA) has hired a new boss and developed a new strategy to compete with the major banks.

CUA’s new chief executive, Chris Whitehead, said he is prepared to jostle with major banks in the void left by the exit of mid-tier and non-bank lenders.

According to Mr Whitehead, the attraction of CUA was the opportunity to take on the major banks, which currently have a large market share and write over 90 per cent of new mortgages.

Mr Whitehead told The Australian Financial Review that he would focus on organic growth for the company, fuelled by sharp deposit pricing and service.

“The challenge is for credit unions to start growing market share, when they have been consolidating and losing share. But it is more a level playing field [in that] three to five years ago, it was much easier for listed entities and non-banks to raise capital and the only way credit unions could do it was through retained earnings,” he said.

“Today, finding capital isn’t easy for anyone.”

A recent boost in mortgage refinancing activity has helped lift business for CUA, which does not traditionally target the first home buyers market.

According to Mr Whitehead, the credit union’s mortgage sales were now back to what they were a year ago.

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