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Bank doubles its market share for 1st-time buyers

Great Southern Bank has doubled its market share and lending to first-time buyers from a year earlier and signalled an uptick in broker-secured loans.

The bank posted its 2021 calendar year results, revealing brokers had sourced 77 per cent of home lending, by December 2021 over three-quarters, up 56 per cent on the year earlier.

As more people are choosing home loans via mortgage brokers, chief executive and managing director of Great Southern Bank Paul Lewis said broker support was “crucial” to the bank’s success.

“It’s incredibly pleasing to see that by December 2021 over three quarters of our home loans were being arranged by brokers, up from half [56 per cent] a year earlier, Mr Lewis said.

“We are deep in negotiations to add new aggregators – and thousands of new brokers – to our network in the coming months.”

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The bank revealed its monthly home lending increased to around $160 million in December 2021, up from $80 million in December 2020, and overall its loan book increased 6.2 per cent year-on-year to $14.39 billion.

Noting the support from the government’s home-ownership schemes, the bank now supports around 2 per cent of the first-time buyer market – double the share it held a year earlier.

“Through these schemes – namely the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, the New Home Guarantee and the Family Home Guarantee – Great Southern Bank has helped around 3,000 people to buy their own home over the past two years, Mr Lewis said.

As escalating property prices outpace wage growth, saving for a home deposit could take a dual household more than five years, according to Domain’s First Home Buyers Report.

Given the affordability challenges ahead for young families, Mr Lewis said it was the bank’s responsibility to help this generation own their own home.

“Thanks to our strong, sustainable financial performance we are making a meaningful, positive difference in the lives of more Australians, and helping them achieve their dreams of home ownership, Mr Lewis said.

As part of the bank’s rebranding strategy, kicked off in June 2021, appealing to younger demographics is a priority.

“The average age of new customers is under 30, around 20 years younger than the average age of our overall customer base [49 years old], Mr Lewis said.

“We rebranded from a credit union to a bank to ensure our relevance to future generations, as our research showed that 70 per cent of millennials don’t know what a credit union is. Attracting this younger audience is a strong sign that we are moving in the right direction.”

The bank said prior investments in technology, such as the Lendfast home loan origination system had also delivered increasing operational efficiency, helping reduce the time taken to approve a loan down to two days for many loans.

“This is great news for our customers and our growing network of brokers,” Mr Lewis said.

“Our home lending grew at 1.8 times system growth over the half year thanks to the strength of our offering and the way our rebrand to Great Southern Bank [from CUA] is resonating with first-time buyers and refinancing Australians.”

[Related: 'No easy feat': Saving for an FHB deposit]

Bank doubles its market share for 1st-time buyers
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