Australia’s leading lenders have been recognised at the inaugural Australian Lending Awards. Jessica Darnbrough reports
THE ADVISER joined top research house RFi to launch the Australian Lending Awards on March 10 – the first awards dedicated exclusively to achievement within the mortgage lending industry.
The black tie event, held at the Westin Hotel, Sydney celebrated the nation’s top lenders, innovators and personalities across the retail, wholesale and third party channels.
With literally hundreds of home loan products on the market – and Australia’s major, second tier and non-bank lenders constantly jostling for market share – borrowers could be forgiven for becoming confused about which lender offered the best proposition.
According to Alex Whitlock, director of Sterling Publishing, producer of the awards and publisher of The Adviser, while many borrowers are tech savvy and happy to research home loan products on the internet, most comparison websites rank products based on price rather than overall suitability.
“While these type of rankings certainly have a place in the current market, lender pricing changes regularly, quickly and dramatically.
“What may seem like a good deal one month may not be the next, and the range of options available is daunting. Knowing which lenders stand out from the pack across a range of metrics, including price, is therefore essential.”
Mr Whitlock added that in a changing market it is important for both consumers and brokers to know where lenders are successful and where they fall down.
“Rather than asking consumers and brokers directly who should win specific awards, we sought experiences and perceptions – which were then used to determine the appropriate winners of each award.
“The Australian Lending Awards help to differentiate top lenders from the pack. This is an awards program that highlights the best of the best – something that lenders can strive towards.”
Mortgage lending has truly opened up in recent months. After years of tightening, credit policy is at last being eased across the whole market. Competition has finally started to emerge in the market, and that’s great news for Australian borrowers.
Using the distribution capabilities of The Adviser and RFi, the Australian Lending Awards canvassed the opinion of more than 6,000 consumers and over 500 brokers and this robust process was at the heart of establishing which lenders are at the forefront of the industry.
Based on this research, finalists were nominated across 12 categories and then invited to provide submissions to a panel of industry professionals.
The judges then ranked lenders against a number of criteria to determine this year’s winners.
Judges included senior financial and commercial executive Baldeep Gill, University of NSW finance professor Fariborz Moshirian, Allen & Overy partner Karolina Popic and Trilogy Capital Group’s executive chairman Rodger Bacon.
In what were hotly contested awards, ANZ was awarded the 2011 Lender of the Year.
According to Glenn Haslam, the lender’s general manager of specialist businesses, ANZ was thrilled with the win considering how much competition there is presently between the major banks.
“It is always nice to win an award, but this one is something else. It is great to get some recognition for all our hard work,” Mr Haslam said.
“Competition between lenders has increased dramatically of late, so it is good to know that we are still recognised by both brokers and consumers as being the number one lender.”