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Westpac expands LMI waiver

More healthcare professionals will qualify for Westpac’s Lenders Mortgage Insurance Waiver, following an expansion to its policy.

Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac) has updated the criteria for its Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) Waiver to include eight further health professions:

  • Audiologists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Osteopaths
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Radiographers
  • Sonographers
  • Speech pathologists 

These professions are now eligible to access a loan-to-value ratio (LVR) of up to 90 per cent without the additional cost of LMI (which is usually applied for LVRs over 80 per cent), subject to meeting the minimum income threshold. According to the major bank, this could save borrowers thousands of dollars.

Speaking of the change, Chris de Bruin, Westpac’s chief executive consumer & business banking, noted that the changes should help more healthcare professionals “purchase their home sooner with a reduced deposit and without the expense of mortgage insurance”.

He added that, as these professions were female-dominated, it would also help support more women into home ownership.

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Mr de Bruin said: “Home ownership is still one of the most common paths to wealth accumulation in Australia but saving the traditional 20 per cent of the value of a property purchase price can take prospective buyers years to achieve. 

“We have recently expanded our LMI Waiver to include additional health professions, like speech pathologists and occupational therapists, where women make-up most of the workforce. 

“This will enable more women to purchase their home sooner with a reduced deposit and without the expense of mortgage insurance.” 

The major bank has also announced that it will be improving access to finance for childcare centre operators by introducing “more flexible lending criteria and priority service” for childcare centre operators.

While more information is set to be made available over the coming weeks, it suggested this would include reduced equity requirements and “competitive” lending rates and establishment fees.

It said the changes should help make it easier for childcare businesses to access finance to expand, supporting government plans to grow the childcare sector.

Mr de Bruin said: “We know that access to finance is a key barrier to expansion, so we’re making it easier for childcare businesses to get the funding they need to grow.”

He highlighted that as the NSW government had recently announced a $5 billion childcare growth plan – while other governments are reportedly pursuing similar policy objectives – “providing access to fast and competitive finance will be essential to support growth in the childcare sector”.

“When Government policy and corporate sector commitment are aligned, change can be driven quickly,” he said.

“To complement our new childcare sector lending growth plan, we will also be lifting women’s participation across our own lending workforce, where females have historically been underrepresented in lending roles.”

Westpac said it hoped to improve female representation in mortgage and SME finance teams by providing employees with access to a development and upskilling program to transition to home and business lending roles.

Up to 100 roles will be made available to employees and external applicants.

[Related: Major banks pass on 50-bp rate hike]

Westpac expands LMI waiver
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