Heritage hungry for more investor loans

Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock says the bank has “plenty of appetite to move in the investor space” following solid increases in its profit and loan book for the first half of 2015-16.

The non-major bank’s profit after tax was at $17.18 million for the six months to 31 December 2015 – an increase of 9.8 per cent on the corresponding period in 2014.

Meanwhile, Heritage’s loan book grew by $21 million during the six-month period to $6.82 billion, while loan approvals rose by 2.2 per cent on the corresponding period in 2014 to $810.50 million.

Approximately 94 per cent of the $810.50 million in approvals were mortgage-related, with around 37 per cent of this portion generated through brokers.

Furthermore, mortgage arrears greater than 30 days were at 0.37 per cent of Heritage’s overall mortgage portfolio as of 31 December 2015.

While the bank’s consolidated assets dropped slightly (down 2.6 per cent to $8.33 billion), its Tier One capital ratio rose from 11.76 per cent to 12.40 per cent during the six-month period.

Mr Lock told Mortgage Business that the bank is now “well within the APRA regulatory guidelines” following the decision to increase its LVR from 80 per cent to 90 per cent for investor loans, and has “plenty of appetite to move in the investor space”.

Mr Lock also said that Heritage’s focus going forward is “heavily dependent” on the third-party channel.

“Heritage is a national brand, but it doesn’t think and act like one, and we really need to change that because we need to demonstrate that we are Australia’s largest mutual bank,” he said.

“We do need a lot more volume coming through our third-party channels, particularly through Victoria and New South Wales, as well as our home state of Queensland. There’s a tremendous opportunity in those eastern states.”

[Related: Heritage Bank names new CEO]

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