FAST's acting chief executive has said the company's brokers are seeing strong refi activity signalling a move away from the majors.
New ABS figures show the demand for new housing finance remains poor, with loans for the purchase of new dwellings falling 10.4% from January to February. But acting FAST's David O'Toole has said the refinancers are active, and borrowers are eschewing the majors.
"Primarily, we are seeing the refinance market is still particularly strong. FAST has seen an improvement in the distribution of lending to non-major lenders over the last 12 months. This is being driven by a renewed sense of competition from non-major lenders whose funding positions have improved post the GFC," O'Toole said.
ABS statistics give credence to the claim, showing a 0.6% rise in refinancing for the month of February. O'Toole said the company's brokers had been "particularly active" managing existing client databases, and that lender competition had underpinned an active refinancing market.
O'Toole said overall credit demand remained subdued, and was unlikely to change any time soon.
"We do believe that credit appetite will continue to be subdued through 2012 if we do not see any major improvement in consumer sentiment. Global uncertainty is still playing on the consumers mind and with additional cost of living pressure it is difficult to see any major improvement in demand," he said.
O'Toole said the company's brokers were overcoming weak housing demand by looking for new revenue streams.
"FAST brokers have, in many cases, had a strong diversification focus in equipment finance - which is currently a growth market - and through insurance," O'Toole said.
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