Westpac, on the other hand, is increasingly taking up funding its home loan book off the back of deposits.
“So, in a way, we’re talking slightly different sources of funding. But it would be interesting to see the comparison between the rates that they’ve got out there.”
Westpac says that, at this point, it doesn’t view the YBR/Macquarie partnership as a significant threat, but that the major lender ‘wishes them luck’.
“This is the dichotomy: Loads of people are going on about competition in the big four banks…There seems to be a fair amount of competition, but everyone is fighting for what, at the moment, is a smaller cake, because people are not borrowing as much.”
“So, you’ve got people banging on about ‘there’s not enough competition’ in the market place and then you’ve got people like Bouris and ME Bank and others out there being able to offer decent rates – and that’s for the good of the market. So when we say we welcome competition, we actually do.”
Finally, argues John, it’s important to remember that Macquarie backed away from mortgages during the GFC – something many borrowers (and brokers) are unlikely to forget anytime soon and which could provide a stumbling block when it comes to customer growth.
“They’re dipping in now, at a time when they know they can make a buck out of it, whereas we’ve been constantly out there. Bouris sold; in effect walked out of the market and is now back in now that he can see a potential opening. And good luck to him. But [YBR] is tiny at this stage.”
Mark Bouris was invited to be interviewed for this article, but declined the invitation.