Weekend wrap: A cash rate call, a major appointment and a new loan product

by AB06 Feb 2016
This week, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) made its first cash rate decision to 2016, a major bank announced its new national broker head and a non-bank launched a new home and commercial loan product.

The RBA left the official cash rate on hold at 2% at its first monetary policy board meeting for 2016.

The cash rate was largely tipped to remain on hold this month, with all 29 economists and analysists surveyed in finder.com.au’s monthly Reserve Bank survey agreeing the cash rate would remain on ice.

However, the minutes of the board meeting made clear the central bank is still maintaining an easing bias, even hinting at further rate cuts this year.

“Continued low inflation may provide scope for easier policy, should that be appropriate to lend support to demand,” the minutes stated.

But despite the clear easing bias, eChoice’s national sales manager, Blake Buchanan, told Australian Broker there will be no surprises if and when some of the majors announce further out of cycle rate rises in 2016 in order to meet their international capital requirements – especially given the precedent in 2015.

According to Buchanan, brokers should prepare themselves to take advantage of this.

“Today’s borrowers are now more conditioned to vote with their feet and savvy brokers already recognise this presents opportunities for them to offer clients the benefits of sharper pricing, which is currently under and around 4%. We’re already seeing many of our brokers prepared for such rate movements as an opportunistic element of their business activity.”

Also this week, Westpac announced the appointment of a new national head of Westpac Broker Distribution. Ex-NAB general manager Warren Shaw has been appointed to the newly created role and will be reporting to Tony Macrae, following Macrae’s promotion in July last year to oversee third party distribution for the entire Westpac Group.

“Westpac has a strong reputation throughout the broking industry, I'm looking forward to building on this while also creating new relationships and identifying opportunities to grow our business,” Shaw said.

Finally, non-bank lender Homeloans Limited launched a new near-prime home and commercial loan.

The new product, Homeloans Envizion, is suited to both PAYG and self-employed borrowers and business owners seeking a loan where the borrower is considered on merit rather than their credit score.

“With Envizion, we are offering a niche product that will benefit borrowers who may not meet standard credit scoring models and those with loan purposes such as cash out or debt consolidation,” Ray Hair, Homeloans’ general manager national sales said.