flagFounded: Around 1980
businessOwned by: Privately-owned
monetization_onFunded by: Retail deposits and wholesale capital markets
securityLMI Provider: Genworth, QBE LMI and Lender Risk Fee
Firstmac was a major non-bank lender and provider of wholesale funds to other non-bank lenders during the period before the GFC in 2007. After the GFC, most borrowers chose to go with major banks and Firstmac lost market share.
Firstmac is predominantly funded through the wholesale money markets which means that their policy is relatively conservative but they also have access to some great pricing at times.
Most of their loans are offered through their online platform loans.com.au of which they are one of the funders but they are also available through mortgage brokers.
How do Firstmac’s home loans compare?
- Home loans below 80% LVR
- Low-risk mortgages between 80% to 90% LVR are self-insured rather than using LMI
- Great introductory (honeymoon) interest rates
- Offering lower interest rates if you have a large deposit
- Assessing loans using common sense instead of credit scoring
- Lenient borrowing power assessment
- Great with overtime, bonus and allowance income for PAYG borrowers
- No annual or ongoing fees with some of their home loans
- Negative gearing added back at assessment rate
- No debt to income ratio restrictions
- Have reasonable age policy for mature borrowers
- Non-resident home loan for high net worth clients
- Business loans secured by residential property get residential rate
- Accepts 100% of overtime, bonus, commisssion and allowances if consistent
- Strict lending policy
- Interest rates and fees are not always competitive
- Once you’ve got a home loan with them, they’re unlikely to offer you a further discount
- LMI can be expensive
- People with bad credit
- Not all mortgage brokers are accredited with them
- People who want branch access
- Borrowing over 90% of the property value is tough
- Self-employed borrowers who cannot prove their income
- First home buyers with a low deposit
- Bad choice for complex loans or for borrowers who fall outside the standard lending criteria
- Evidence required for cash out of amounts above $50,000
- They’re bad with unusual properties/securities
- They don’t offer waived LMI loans
- Do not add back company net profits for self-employed borrowers
- Cash out / equity release is not available for non-resident borrowers
What home loans types do they have?
Firstmac has a Vital, VIP Package and Construction loan which all come with competitive variable rates and different interest rates depending on if you are an investor or home owner, your repayment type and the size of your deposit.
For example if you borrow 80% of the property value you’ll get a better interest rate than if you borrow 90%.
The VIP Package also comes with fixed rate options however they are rarely market leading.
They also have a Basic 80 (Broker Special Discount) home loan with a low introductory rate.
Tips for applying with Firstmac
Applying for a home loan with Firstmac works well if you meet standard bank criteria, you have a large deposit and you can provide all of your documents such as payslips in one go.
You may also need to find a mortgage broker that has worked with Firstmac before. Not all mortgage brokers are accredited with them or have experience working with them.
Use Firstmac’s Loan Checklist to prepare for your home loan application.
What applications will Firstmac consider under their self-insured policy?
Firstmac will give higher risk loans to their LMI provider.
They will self-insure home loans that are considered low-risk:
- Loans between 80% to 90% LVR
- The property is located in Category 1 postcode. Other postcode locations are not accepted.
- The property is already established. Off the plan is also accepted. Construction lending is not accepted.
- The maximum loan amount is $750,000
- The applications must go through Firstmac’s internal risk score.
Firstmac’s majority shareholder Kim Cannon is one smart cookie! He’s not just been one of the true non-bank lenders that helped to force the banks to lower their interest rates in the late 90’s, he’s also helped the shape the mortgage industry.
When the internet was relatively new he was one of the first to see its potential and he registered the domain loans.com.au which has now become on online lender funded by Firstmac.
He’s also been instrumental in lobbying the government to reform laws restricting ownership for Authorised Deposit Taking Institutions (ADIs). Firstmac was unable to obtain an ADI licence in 2014 as Kim owns more than 15% of the company. We’d love to see more non-bank lenders become banks which would benefit all Australians as they could compete to offer other products like term deposits instead of being limited to home loans.
Kim regularly offers his opinion in the mortgage industry media which offers an independent and intelligent point of view. It’s always worth listening to what he has to say.
Firstmac client story
To buy a home and get a great interest rate.
Buying a home, negotiating a good interest rate.
Lucas had just sold a unit he owned in Sydney and was looking to buy a larger home for his new family. He was in an excellent financial position and was looking for the best deal on the market.
Despite being a great customer, several banks were unwilling to offer Lucas a substantial professional package interest rate because he was borrowing less than $500,000.
At the time, Firstmac had a special offer and was giving people who had a large deposit a market-leading interest rate even if they weren’t borrowing a large amount.
We were able to secure Lucas an approval at a rate well below the one offered by his bank.
In addition to this, we set the limit for the loan to be higher than was needed so Lucas had access to funds in case of emergency.
Compare Firstmac to other lenders
Not sure which lender is right for you? Our Home Loan Experts can help!
Talk to one of our mortgage brokers by calling us on 1300 889 743 or complete our free assessment form.