Lender choice is more important than most people realise!

We’re so used to relying on customer reviews everywhere we go in life and, in most cases, these are accurate as we can compare to other similar experiences with similar products.

That approach just doesn’t work with a home loan!

  • You’ll probably only apply for two or three home loans in your life
  • You may only have experience dealing with one or two banks
  • Who you deal with at a bank matters!
  • The self-employed, first home buyers and builders have very different needs
  • Banks get busy leading up to Christmas, Easter or the end of the financial year
  • Valuations, documents being posted or ID processes are outside the bank’s control
  • Government regulations cause a lot of complications and delays

In other words, most customer reviews blame the banks for problems that either would have happened with any bank or where the real issue is that they didn’t belong to that bank!

Which lenders did we review?

Disclaimer: While most of these lenders are on our panel there are a few that aren’t as they don’t deal with mortgage brokers.

How did we review the banks?

We based our review on much more than just price. We wanted to focus on if they deliver a great result for their customers.

Competitive interest rates

We all love low interest rates! We didn’t just look at the price today. Instead, we looked at their historical pricing and if they tend to be competitive or if they lag behind the other banks.

What about specialist lenders? These lenders use a rate for risk model where different customers are charged different rates and fees. We looked at if they are charging fair rates for what they offer.

Flexible credit policies

Do they approve home loans for good people and decline loans for the right reasons? Do they see you as a human being or just a number?

Many of the major lenders use a computer algorithm called credit scoring these days. In these cases, we looked at if their credit score was accurate, if it discriminated against particular borrower types and if it could be overridden where it was clearly inaccurate.

Speed and reliability

If you’re refinancing, then you probably don’t mind if your home loan is delayed a few weeks. However if you’re purchasing, the same delays will cause a mental breakdown. In the worst cases, people miss out on their dream home because their bank is too slow.

Banks have special offers and get swamped by applications all the time so be aware that right now they may be slower or faster than we’ve assessed. What we’re looking at is if they tend to get things right or tend to let our customers down.

Reputable or dangerous

Every lender has a clause in their loan agreement that allows them to vary your interest rate.

The question is can you trust them?

The GFC was the perfect example of a time when the banks had the opportunity to gouge their customers. Which ones took advantage of their customers and which didn’t?

Some lenders also got slammed by the media and customers when in fact they’d reacted to a real increase in their cost of funds. The general public can’t always tell the difference, but we can!

This also takes into account if they’re genuinely there to help customers or if they’re genuinely there to help their shareholders! Customer owned banking gets a big tick in this area.

About the reviewer

Otto Dargan is the Managing Director of specialist mortgage broking firm Home Loan Experts. He’s won Australia’s Brightest Broker twice! That’s no mean feat considering there’s around 11,000 mortgage brokers in Australia.

Otto combines extensive mortgage broking experience, great contacts within the industry, property investment and a passion for helping customers to get a better home loan.

  • Hoffman

    This list of reviews is truly quite informative and interesting. Have you guys perhaps reviewed LMI providers as well? I’d be very much interested in learning that too.

  • Hey Hoffman,

    Thanks for your comment. We have reviewed a couple LMI providers so if you want to check them out, you can go through the Lenders Mortgage Insurance section on our website:

  • merchant

    Hi, can your mortgage brokers handle SMSF commercial loans? I would very much like to speak with one who has experience dealing with these.

  • Hi, we have mortgage brokers who have handled this before and we have relationships with lenders that do these deals so please feel free to discuss your situation and loan needs with one of our experts by simply calling 1300 889 743.

  • Thelma

    Why should I use a broker when I can apply with the bank directly?

  • Hey Thelma,

    Yes, you can apply with the bank directly but a mortgage broker can help you get approved the first time around especially if you have an unusual situation. This is because mortgage brokers are usually specialists and good ones have relationships with many banks and lenders. On top of this, their services are free in most cases. Please check out the mortgage broker vs bank page to find out more:

  • Utpal Dutta

    Hi I am salary person, my job is a private Proprietor ship company when I can apply with the bank for home loan ?

  • Hi Utpal
    Yes you can apply for a loan. I think what you mean is that you are a salaried employee of a private company that you are not an owner of. That’s fine we’d just need to see your payslips.
    If you are an owner of the company then we’d need to see different documents. The bank can tell if you are an owner via an ASIC search or your credit file.

  • Midas

    What is a DUA and what significance does it hold?

  • Hi Midas
    A delegated underwriting authority or DUA basically allows the bank/ lender to approve home loan applications on behalf of the mortgage insurer. With this, the lender is able to approve applications that wouldn’t normally be approved by the mortgage insurer. You can check out the delegated underwriting authority page for more information:

  • Tasha

    A mortgage broker told me that BOQ specialist loans can do a 95% lend for doctors, with no lenders mortgage insurnace. Can this really be done? How are their interest rates though?

  • Yes, BOQ specialist loans can typically lend 95% no LMI home loans for doctors. However, their credit department has increasingly wanted to do loans at 90% with waived LMI rather than going higher. Regarding their interest rates, they have high rates for loans above 90% LVR so if possible, it’s best to get a bigger deposit.

  • Stanley

    I have heard a lot about Virgin Money recent days and I wanted to approach them for a home loan. However, I got to know that we have to apply through a mortgage broke. Can you help me apply for a Virgin Money home loan?

  • Yes Stanley, we can assist you to obtain a home loan in Virgin Money. It is funded by Bank of Queensland (BOQ), and is in our lender panel as well. Please note that their policies are quite strict but their pricing is good, so we could help you obtain attractive rates.
    Virgin Money has reward points, known as velocity points for their customers getting home loans, and it’s their way of thanking the customers for their loyalty. They’ll award you velocity points on the settlement of the loan, on monthly repayment and more points every third year. And ultimately, you can use those points on attractive packages they have designed. Speak to us on 1300 889 743 to know more about Virgin Money.

  • Sue Fitch

    Which bank will lend to first home buyers in a small town in Queensland, 20 deposit, government employees house seller their valuation and contract $150k anz,valuation $100000. What should we do now. Look to another bank? Which one? Need to process application pronto