Aussie Home Loans and its managing director, John Symonds, the man with the catchy line 'At Aussie, we'll save you' have become well known in households across the country over the last decade.
Aussie first stormed the mainstream market in August 1994, grabbing headlines when John Symonds announced they were cutting their home loan rates despite the first official interest rate rise from the Reserve Bank in nearly five years.
This move catapulted Aussie to the top of the market for non-bank lenders. Aussie John was a pioneer in competition for home loan interest rates. Prior to his emergence, the lowest rate was the major bank's standard variable rate, with non-bank lenders mainly relying on higher risk customers, in return for a higher interest rate.
Anyone with a home loan today owes a certain due to Aussie John, as the competition started by him has clearly provided lower home loan rates, as well as greater flexibility for borrowers. When Aussie hit the market in 1994, the Reserve Bank's Official Interest Rate was 4.75% p.a. and the major banks were all charging 8.75% p.a. for owner occupiers, and 9.25% p.a. for investors. Today, with the RBA rate at 6.50% p.a. the major banks 'non-discount rate' is 8.32% p.a. and Aussie is charging just 7.79% p.a. Extra margin for investors is now history.
So just what do Aussie customers get? Well, according to their website, the cheapest comparison rate is now 7.79%, which is not the lowest in the market. However, Aussie charges no valuation fee for your first property, a rare feature in the market, as well as a wide-range of flexibility options.
Aussie will lend up to 100% of a properties LVR, with a maximum loan term of 30 years, and the option to repay either Principal and Interest, or Interest Only facilities. Principle and interest loans can be repaid either monthly or fortnightly. ATM withdrawals, EFTPOS, BPAY, and deposits are available for a small fee.
A main feature of Aussie Home Loans is if your mortgage advisor regards an Aussie product to not be the best available on the market for you, they will actually setup a loan through one of their competitors using their broker service. This feature can put you in a win/win situation, the perfect choice for a novice borrower.
So whose needs does Aussie best cater for? We would say they are best suited to the less sophisticated borrower, someone who doesn't understand all the frills and added features of our complex lending market. Whilst their products may no longer be the cheapest in our competitive lending market, Aussie is still the market leader in terms of their service, which again earned them the ranking as mortgage lender of the year in 2006.
Aussie's track record of saving money for borrowers stands for itself in terms of who you can trust to maintain the best deal on your home loan down the track. As the line says, 'At Aussie, they'll save you'!