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Banks start home loan war again

Saturday 28th May 2005

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The Bank of New Zealand is resuming discounting campaign with home loans, this time extending it to include three-year rates as well as two-year rates. However two other banks have launched their own campaigns.

BNZ is offering two and three year rates at 7.55% under the Classic Home Loan banner.

Its standard rates for these two terms are 7.80% each.

One of the key differences are that cheap rates have no other offers or incentives attached while the higher ones include Global Home Loans which attract loyalty card reward points.

Besides offering some lower rates BNZ is also promising to beat rates offered by the other big banks. However it is explicitly excluding ASB Bank’s online subsidiary.

Bank of New Zealand general manager of marketing, distribution, and strategy, Andrew Whitechurch says the three-year offer is being made because of “shifts in the interest rate cycle.”

“More customers are starting to fix for three years,” he says.

However, as www.goodreturns.co.nz has been reporting for some time most lenders have been reducing their longer-term home loan rates over the past couple of weeks.

“The (BNZ's) campaigns are not random activities,” Whitechurch says. “They are part of an on-going strategy by Bank of New Zealand to prove to consumers that Bank of New Zealand is always very competitive on home loan rates, and to build our share of the home loan market over the long-term.”

He also reiterates the bank view that it is cheaper to sell home loans directly rather than through mortgage brokers.

However David Tripe, at Massey University’s Centre of Banking Studies, questioned that line earlier this week.

“The BNZ have highlighted their advantage in not having to make payments to mortgage brokers, but this particular advantage may be overstated.”

He points out that only about a third of all loans are sold through brokers and that the banks employ their own teams of mobile managers.

“If mobile mortgage managers are paid on a commission basis, they may not be much cheaper for originating loans than are brokers.”

Meanwhile the National Bank has announced a special home loan offer. It is a 27-month fixed rate at 7.60% and it is for new and existing customers with total home lending more than $300,000.

“The fixed rate offer is designed to support both existing and new to bank home loan business where lending is greater than $300,000 and offers customers the benefits of a very competitive rate, over a term longer than two years,” the bank says.

Earlier ANZ replaced its 18-month rate with a 20-month rate that is priced just under its two-year rate at 7.69%

To compare home loan rates go to http://www.goodreturns.co.nz/section/200.html

Or visit www.mortgagerates.co.nz

Bond Offer: Infratil Ltd, 7.2 year & 10.2 year unsecured unsubordinated bond


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