More than just home loans

Bank Tightens Home Lending Rules

  • From The Adviser


    One of the major banks has informed brokers that it will introduce enhanced income verification requirements for residential loans, effective from 20 November.

    Key changes include the following:

    PAYG income: Brokers are required to obtain three months’ bank statements showing salary credits in order to verify income (in addition to payslips).

    For casual, temporary and contract employees, six months of continuous employment is required, supported by six months of bank statements showing salary credits.

    Overtime, bonus and commission income: Brokers are required to make inquiries of customers as to whether any of their income is comprised of overtime, bonus or commission, and record the overtime/bonus/commission amounts in the Statement of Position, adding that brokers should also include an explanation of the income in their submission/diary note. In line with current policy, any income from bonus, commission or overtime needs to be removed from the income calculation and shaded in accordance with credit policy (currently 80 per cent), before being added back to the customer income.

    However, the bank noted that if the overtime/commission/bonus amount cannot be identified from the customer’s payslips, or the customer has chosen to provide six months’ salary credits rather than salary credits and payslips, further payslips may be required in order to verify the amount of income that is derived from bonus, overtime or commission payments.

    Casual, temporary or contract employment: Where a customer is in casual, temporary or contract employment, the customer will need to provide evidence of six months of continuous employment via salary credits through either the bank transaction history or OFI bank statements.

    In order to satisfy the continuous employment requirement, customers cannot have a gap greater than a total of 28 days (either continuous or cumulative), which the bank said is measured by the pay period start/end dates on payslips or the number of salary credits available on the bank’s transaction history/ OFI bank statements.

    Additional checks by the bank for irregular income: An additional check will be performed by the bank to confirm if a customer’s income is irregular. If the assessor cannot satisfy themselves of the reasons for irregular income via the documents provided, the Statement of Position and any relevant diary notes, then they will contact the broker for further information.

    Other Financial Institution home loan: Three months of statements are required (even if the home loan liability is not being refinanced) to confirm monthly repayment amount and that the account conduct is satisfactory.

    Where the loan account is less than three months old, a copy of the Letter of Offer (LOO) or the loan transaction history (showing balance AND at least one repayment) is considered acceptable provided the above conditions are also met.

    Rental expenses: Three months of bank statements showing rental payments made by the customer will be required, or a lease agreement to verify the ongoing rental expense.

    Additional commentary regarding customer’s financial situation

    Brokers are required to make adequate inquiries with customers about their financial situation and provide additional commentary to explain any material differences between verification documents (for example, bank statements) and customer-stated income or expense figures in the Statement of Position, as well as any potential indicators of financial hardship.

    The bank stated that indicators of financial hardship may include adverse account conduct (e.g. overdrawn, excess, late payments, arrears), regular overdrawing of an account due to gambling transactions, and payday lender transactions. Brokers have also been asked to include any additional commentary/explanation in a diary note, which the bank said will form part of the bank’s assessment.

    Changes to Broker Interview Guide:  Also effective on 20 November, the bank has also announced that it will change questions in its Broker Interview Guide in relation to inquiries into a customer’s future financial circumstances, which will apply to all home and investment loan applications.

    More detailed information required from customers who have stipulated a significant change to their future financial circumstances including the requirement for supporting documentation in some instances.

    More detailed information required from customers who are approaching retirement including the requirement for supporting documentation in some instances.