flagFounded: Founded in 1895, acquired by CBA in 2008
businessOwned by: CBA
monetization_onFunded by: Retail deposits and wholesale capital markets
account_balanceLender type: Major Bank
BankWest Commercial’s success with mortgage brokers and aggressive pricing enabled them to become a major lender for development loans between 2002 and 2007. However, during the GFC their parent company faced tough times and sold BankWest to CBA.
CBA saw that BankWest had a huge exposure with development loans and effectively BankWest withdrew from the development market.
Since then BankWest Commercial has focused on offering sharp interest rates for standard commercial properties either for owner occupied or investment purposes. They’re regularly in the top 3 for our commercial lending proposals.
How do BankWest Commercial’s loans compare?
They’re great at
- Commercial property investment
- Refinancing commercial property loans
- Purchase/start-up of a franchise
- Sharp interest rates on bank bill facilities for large loan sizes
- They have a range of products including overdrafts, commercial advances and term loans
- No annual reviews on most loans
- Working with mortgage brokers
- People who want to deal with their business bank through a local business banking centre
But they’ve got some drawbacks…
- Strict credit assessment
- In most cases, loans must be secured by residential, rural or commercial property
- Maximum loan term is 15 years with commercial security
- Appetite for property development loans tends to fluctuate
- Low doc commercial property loans
- They’re unlikely to accept people with bad credit
- Without a good contact, it’s hard to get the most out of the bank
- Good small business bankers are either promoted or become mortgage brokers
What business loan types do they have?
BankWest’s two main business loans are their Business Low Rate Loan and their Business Fee Saver Loan. These two have competitive rates and low fees which make them attractive for most borrowers.
BankWest also has a Business Zero Overdraft which is useful if combined with another loan, as it has a higher interest rate than BankWest’s other business loans.
BankWest’s Business Fixed Rate Loan is popular among commercial property investors who just want a set and forget facility along with the security of fixed repayments.
Want a great rate? Then fix!
If you compare the variable and fixed rates offered by BankWest Business, you’ll see that most of the time their fixed rates are cheaper!
The sweet spot for fixing your rate tends to be around 2 or 3 years for most commercial loans. So consider this option when buying a commercial property and review your rate each time it comes up for renewal.
Can I get a low rate without fixing?
BankWest doesn’t advertise it, but they also have bank bill linked loans which have significantly lower interest than their Business Fee Saver Loan.
They’re only available for larger loan sizes and they are priced based on the level of security that you can provide and your overall risk as a borrower.
Bankwest Commercial client story: Gary, NSW
- To purchase a block of 7 units on one title as an investment.
- To get a cheap interest rate.
Business owner Gary wanted to quickly expand his investment portfolio by purchasing a block of residential units.
The purchase price was going to upwards of $3.4 million but Gary had considerable equity in existing property as well as a 10% cash deposit.
Although he was borrowing at a low LVR (less than 70% of the property value), he, unfortunately, wouldn’t be able to qualify for a residential home loan.
With his current home loan and other business finance with Commonwealth Bank (CBA), Gary initially got his pre-approval through his CBA business banker because it was simply the easiest option.
However, after seeking a second opinion, one of our senior mortgage brokers suggested Bankwest. They were able to offer Gary a much cheaper interest rate for the amount he wanted to borrow.
Unfortunately with settlement only 2 weeks away, Gary was told that the Bankwest deal wouldn’t settle on time and he made the tough decision to go with CBA.
It was exactly 6 months later that Gary contacted our senior broker about refinancing his CBA commercial loan to Bankwest.
Not only did he want to get a better interest rate but he was simply fed up with his CBA business banker.
Although he was advised by his broker to choose a variable rate when he went with CBA, he chose to fix anyway and had to pay a significant break cost for refinancing within the fixed period.
Despite this, he was happy to pay the cost because over the long run, he would save thousands of dollars on his commercial loan.
In addition, he qualified for a $500 flat loan application fee where other lenders were charging around 2% of the loan amount and he was able to cash out $800,000 to purchase vacant commercial land for future residential development.
Compare BankWest to other business lenders
Will your bank tell you if there is a better offer available? Our Commercial Loan Experts can help!
Talk to one of our mortgage brokers by calling us on 1300 889 743 or complete our free assessment form.