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ANZ National loses a little mortgage market share

By Jenny Ruth

Thursday 17th February 2005

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 Jenny Ruth
ANZ/National Bank lost a smidgeon in market share of the mortgage market in the December quarter but its mortgage book is still growing strongly.

The bankís December quarter disclosure document shows its mortgage book grew $1.152 billion to $34.9 billion during the quarter. Using the Reserve Bankís figures for lending on housing by the registered banks, that means the bank claimed 31% of new lending in the quarter and its market share slipped to 35.09% from 35.24%.

However, the pace of growth in the bankís mortgage book picked up from $746 million in the September quarter.

Earlier this month, Bank of New Zealand, which has yet to release its December quarter disclosure document, claimed to have won 26% of all new home loans written in December while ASB Bank, which is also yet to release its December quarter document, claimed 30% of new mortgage lending in December.

Chief executive Sir John Anderson told analysts the bankís net interest margin fell 2 basis points to 2.76% as the impact of the mortgage rate war was offset by 2%, or $839 million, growth in deposits.

Anderson says the price war, which he blames BNZ for starting and ASB Bank for exacerbating it, was "really quite silly. Obviously, everyone lost out on that situation in New Zealand." ANZ/National didnít match the BNZ and ASBís rates. "We still had 40 basis points return. As I understand it, the ASB and BNZ were making nothing."

Some of the impact of the rate war will also be felt in the March quarter results.

While margins have now returned to more normal levels, Anderson still expects the trend for margins to be squeezed to continue over the medium to longer term.

Anderson says the bank is well down the track to revitalising its blue ANZ Bank brand, although thereís still one to two years more work to be done on that. ANZís growth figures were the best in about four years, he says. And National Bank grew 23% when its overall market share is 21%, he says.

Growth in the mortgage book sourced from mortgage brokers remained steady with ANZ/Nationalís share of brokersí business remaining about the same level as brokersí market share. "Brokers arenít stupid. They like to deal with people who deliver for them," Anderson says.

ANZ/Nationalís real growth is coming from its own branch network, he says.

[Read more - Click here for Philís Blog]

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