​Lenders hit back at age discrimination accusations

The majors have slammed claims older borrowers are being unfairly denied credit, claiming policies are in place to protect borrowers.



The majors have slammed claims older borrowers are being unfairly denied credit, claiming policies are in place to protect borrowers.

Following calls from brokers for lenders to drop the hard and fast lending restrictions they claim have been put in place for borrowers aged in their 40s and 50s over the past six years,  lenders were quick to refute that these restrictions exist.

Steve Kane, general manager NAB Broker distribution, said the lender assesses all loan applications on a case-by-case basis.

“Loan serviceability is a critical part of the loan approval process,” said Kane.

“This includes ensuring a customer has the capacity to repay against a higher interest rate, verifying a customer’s existing commitments and income, and accounting for any foreseeable changes to their financial position that may affect their ability to service the loan.”

Despite accusations directed generally at lenders, some brokers came to the defence of ANZ, praising the major bank for extending credit to borrowers that were unable to get a home loan from other lenders due to their age.

ANZ head of third party relationships Keiran Evans said outright the bank doesn’t discriminate against customers “based on age or any other factor”.

“As a responsible lender, we believe it’s in everyone’s best interests if customers applying for a home loan (or any other type of loan) have sufficient income to meet their repayments,” said Evans.

CBA’s newly appointed general manager broker sales, third party banking, Sam Boer, told Australian Broker the bank’s lending criteria for older borrowers have not tightened in recent years, and said he believed there was still sufficient flexibility in lending policies.

“We treat every individual borrower equally on their respective merit, irrespective of age, and in consideration of our responsible lending obligations,” said Boer.
“That is why the Four Cs are so important – assessing applicants on the capacity to pay, their character, the collateral they have and their commitment, regardless of their age.”
A crucial aspect for older borrowers to consider before they apply for credit is whether they have strong, wealth, retirement and exit planning strategies in place.
“The best option for a customer is to talk to a professional mortgage broker. They are well equipped to explain the range of lending products available, of which there are many,” said Boer.
While he said the bank has no special criteria for older borrowers, Boer highlighted CBA’s Equity Unlock For Seniors (EQFS) as a viable option.

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