– The consumer lending marketplace, especially in home loans and residential lending, is vast and perplexing.
– Apart from the big 4 retail banks (CBA, Westpac, NAB and ANZ), there are regional banks which operate in each State, credit unions and mutual lenders (which are ‘owned’ by consumers) plus the growing range of online ‘fintech’ lenders who only offer consumers loans via their website.
Brokers have access to many of these lenders plus even more as they can obtain loans from lenders who only lend money to consumers via a broker distribution channel.
– Research by KPMG in 2019 indicates that the big 4 banks have a share of over 81% of the residential property mortgage market. And, as over 55% of borrowers use a broker, brokers also place a lot of their clients’ loans with the major lenders.
So, whether you use a broker or whether you walk down to your local high street bank, the big 4 dominate the lending landscape.
Most borrowers probably feel that if they have a choice of 4 (or 5 or 6 if you include regional banks which are available in most States) of largest lenders, they would be getting an ‘ok’ deal – and that the options they are being offered by the big 4 represent what is available across the lending industry.
And for many borrowers, this might well be true – but it is not necessarily true.
The reason this approach of walking down your local high street is appealing to many borrowers who have not used a broker is because research has shown we don’t like too much choice.
We do like choice, but not too much. And more than 4 or 5 to choose from quickly becomes ‘too much choice’.
So, with over 40 lenders which most brokers deal with, the choice is far too large to consider for most borrowers.
That is one of the main reasons why borrowers use a broker – to sort through the ‘too much choice’ factor quickly and efficiently so the borrower can approach a lender whose product is suitable for the borrower.
How do we shop for home loans?
The KPMG research shows a number of interesting facets in obtaining a loan:
– We prefer to research online (87% use and prefer the internet) but when it comes to the application, we are more likely to opt for face to face (56%) – but then, we prefer to revert to online service (80%). And, we really don’t like call centres and we try to avoid them whenever possible!!!
– 44% of those who have previously taken out a loan preferred to apply via a broker Vs 41% using their existing financier and 15% preferring to use a new financial institution.
– And of those who use a broker, 67% renegotiate their interest rates at least once every 5 years compared to 53% for those who applied directly to a lender.
At BIR Finance we do this every year with your existing lender and every 2 years with other lenders.
– The older we are, the more likely we are to use our existing lender.
– Roughly two thirds of respondents have 2 or more financiers.
– Reasons we choose brokers or new financial institutions – or decide to stay with our existing financier:
> Interest rate or price related data: 51% of those borrowers who used a broker channel and 59% of those who went to a new financial institution, did so for interest rate related reasons.
– and this was regarded as a significantly important reason.
Only 19% of those who used their existing financier prioritized interest rate related reasons and they did not rank this reason as being an important reason for choosing their existing financier.
> Convenience: 35% of those borrowers who used a broker related channel and 65% of those who used their existing financier did so for convenience related reasons.
> Trust: was the third main area identified as reasons borrowers chose brokers (14%) or new financial institutions (27%) or they decided to stay with their existing financier (16%).
Based upon my exposure to borrowers, lenders and the broker channel, this research makes intuitive sense.
Ibid To Sell is Human, Dan Pink p. 234
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