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Small bank takes on large ones for big loans

Weekly home loan report

Tuesday 5th April 2005

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The past week has been a relatively quiet one in terms of the quantum of changes to home loan rates, but there has still been plenty of heat amongst those battling it out at the bottom of the two-year rate table.

BNZ, Bank Direct and now Kiwibank have been going at it with one-upmanship advertising campaigns on television and in the some of the metropolitan dailies.

One of the newest ones was Kiwibank, on Saturday, telling its competitors to stop their "bickering" over what is unbeatable.

Currently Kiwibank and Bank Direct are offering two-year rates of 7.50% and BNZ is offering 7.60%.

The more significant moves during the past week were that ASB Bank and its sister company Sovereign put up their one-year rates on Friday to 7.80%.

Also Superbank increased all its rates with the exception of the one-year one.

Two of the trustee companies, Guardian Trust and Perpetual Trust also increased rates during the week, and the last of the floating rate increases trickled through from some of the smaller lenders.

Most lenders have now increased their floating rate 25 basis points in line with the Reserve Bank's March 10 increase in the official cash rate.

The other development, which is the opposite to the two-year price war, is that HSBC has today (Tuesday) launched its "Home Loan Plus" package which is designed to compete against Westpac and ANZ for customers in the upper end of the market: "High income customers with borrowings of more than $300,000 in Auckland/Wellington regions and $250,000 in all other regions and especially those with loans over $500,000."

HSBC is offering discounts of up to 50 basis points on floating rates and 20 basis points on fixed rates for these customers along with a number of other sweeteners.

Two-year rates range from Bank Direct and Kiwibank's 7.50% rate up to 8.64% that is being offered by Rotorua-based NZ Mortgage Funds. Most of the large banks are sitting on two-year rates of 7.80%.

One-year rates are very similar. Bank Direct is the lowest at 7.50% and NZ Mortgage Funds are the highest at 8.73%.

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