CBA reduces rates to meet competition

CBA follows market down on home-loan rates

28 June 2011 7:13am
Commonwealth Bank is sharpening its pricing on some home-loan product lines pitched at the price sensitive end of the market.

CBA cut the rate on its “no fee” variable rate loan by 13 basis points, to 7.11 per cent. And BankWest, a subsidiary of CBA, lowered pricing on its “premium select” loan to either 6.85 per cent or 6.95 per cent, depending on the borrower’s deposit.

Ross McEwen, group executive for retail banking at CBA, said that when the bank introduced the no-fee loan earlier this year the rationale was to provide a product that removed the need for the customer to haggle, as well as certainty over the level of fees.

“Over the last two to three months the market has got more competitive. The level of discounting has increased.

“We said we’d pass that discount through.”

McEwen acknowledged that few customers borrow from the bank at the notional “standard” home loan rate of 7.81 per cent.

He said about 90 per cent of CBA loans were advanced at “package rates”, with discounts ranging from 50 to 80 basis points.

McEwen discounted the relevance of notionally low-cost loans such as those from NAB’s UBank brand, at 6.59 per cent.

“Very few people would be able to do it [entirely online]. Most people don’t know how to do it all themselves.”

CBA operated a model similar to that of UBank, known as HomePath, from 1999 until it was scrapped in 2008.

McEwen’s colleague at BankWest, Ian Rakhit, the head of specialist banking, said about 50 per cent of new home loan business was coming through on the “package” product with a discount of 80 bps for the first three years, while 45 per cent of new loans were enjoying “life of loans” discounts, such as the premium select product. This is the subject of this week’s public relations.

Rakhit said the five per cent of home-loan business flowing into other styles of loans could lift given the refresh of the bank’s low-doc loan product with a new rate of 7.20 per cent.
Source: banking Day

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