Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Friday, 25 March 2016

CBA reporting "unprecedented volumes" of mortgage applications

Record mortgage applications

I've heard from several different sources now that Commonwealth Bank is experiencing mortgage applications at a pace never before seen.

BDMs are advised brokers that it will take 8 business days for applications or queries to even be looked at, with no exceptions other than bank error.

Under no circumstances are applications being escalated to credit teams, due to their "experiencing unprecedented volumes".

You could read several things into this.

It could simply be that CBA is under-resourced over the Easter period.

But I don't think it's that.

I take their comments at face value: over time low interest rates have caused demand for property to rise to levels that have never before been seen in Australia.

We shouldn't be all that surprised by this, given that the cash rate is at 2 per cent, yet the unemployment rate has now been in a downtrend for 28 months, and the economy has not stalled in the face of its resources investment cliff as feared.

We already know that APRA has had to tap lenders on the shoulder to slow the thunderous pace of investor lending, which was threatening to spiral off the charts.

After a bit of a reshuffle, many would-be borrowers are now resurfacing in the guise of homebuyers.

It could also to some extent be the case that Commonwealth Bank is flexing its muscles in order to win back market share in what has become a very competitive lending market.

Australia's largest mortgage aggregator Australian Finance Group (AFG) reported within its March 2016 data that its flow of business to Commonwealth Bank increased from 17 per to 23 per cent over the quarter.

Meanwhile Commonwealth Bank's subsidiary Bankwest also saw a jump taking CBA's market share up to 31 per cent.

CBA's share of fixed rate lending in particular soared from 13.8 per cent to 24 per cent.

At the state level, CBA is now the top lender in Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia.



Source: AFG

Overall, it should be expected that investor lending will steady in 2016, but there seems to be huge demand for home loans with term deposit rates so uninspiring and the share market delivering underwhelming returns.