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ANZ takes pre-virus mortgage hit

New APRA data has revealed that ANZ was the only big four bank to record negative home lending growth before the coronavirus outbreak altered the trajectory of the domestic economy.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released its latest monthly authorised deposit-taking institutions statistics, which show that ANZ was the only major bank to report a decline in its mortgage portfolio in February 2020.

ANZ’s overall mortgage portfolio contracted by approximately $400 million, down from $246.3 billion to $245.9 billion.

The contraction was driven by declines in both ANZ’s owner-occupied and investment home loan portfolios.

ANZ’s owner-occupied book decreased by approximately $100 million, from $160.6 billion to 160.5 billion, while its investment portfolio contracted by approximately $300 million, from $85.7 billion to $85.4 billion.

The bank’s subdued home lending performance in February preceded the shock to the domestic economy, predominately caused by social distancing directives from government authorities in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Job uncertainty and new restrictions on real-estate activities are expected to hinder demand for housing credit over the coming months.

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ANZ has publicly acknowledged its shortcomings in the home-lending space, with John Campbell, general manager of home loans, revealing – prior to the coronavirus outbreak – that the bank was forecasting 2-3 per cent settlement growth in 2020.

Echoing remarks from ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott, Mr Campbell conceded that the bank’s interpretations of compliance with NCCP have increased turnaround times for mortgage applications.

The ANZ GM said the bank’s turnaround times have particularly affected volumes via the broker channel, where he said service propositions play a significant role in determining a customer’s product choice.

“ANZ has for a long time been the bank with the largest broker-originated flow, relying on the broker channel the most,” he said.

“If it’s harder for a customer to know whether they have a deal, or how long it will take to get it through the process, and where they have a choice – which clearly the customers originated through brokers and aggregators do – they will choose to go to where there is certainty and confidence.”


Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has again recorded strong monthly mortgage portfolio growth, outpacing its peers with total book growth of approximately $1.2 billion, from $446 billion to $447.2 billion.

CBA’s growth was predominately driven by a $1.1 billion increase in its owner-occupied book, from $289.3 billion to $290.4 billion.

Growth in its investment home loan portfolio was less pronounced, with its book increasing by approximately $100 million, from $156.7 billion to $156.8 billion.


NAB’s home-lending fortunes continued to vary significantly across channels, with sharp growth in its owner-occupied book juxtaposed by a contraction in its investment portfolio.

The bank’s owner-occupied book thickened by approximately $600 million, from $151.1 billion to $151.7 billion.

In contrast, NAB’s investment portfolio decreased by approximately $500 million, from $109.9 billion to $109.4 billion.

As a result, NAB’s overall mortgage book increased by approximately $100 million, from $261 billion to $261.1 billion.


Similarly, Westpac reported a modest increase in its overall portfolio, which grew by approximately $100 million, from $408 billion to $408.1 billion.

Westpac’s owner-occupied portfolio increased by approximately $400 million, from $227.2 billion to $227.6 billion.

This was offset by a contraction of approximately $300 million in its investment portfolio, from $180.8 billion to $180.5 billion.  

Housing credit growth steady

The Reserve Bank of Australia has also released its latest Financial Aggregates data, reporting 0.3 per cent housing credit growth in February, in line with the previous month.

Housing credit growth remains subdued in annual terms, rising 3.2 per cent in the 12 months to February 2020, compared with 4.2 per cent growth in the previous corresponding period.

Total credit growth (includes business and personal lending) grew 0.4 per cent in February and 2.8 per cent in annual terms.

[Related: New interventions to hit housing turnover]

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