first home buyers
Image – Canva
  • Great Southern Bank is Australia largest customer-owned bank
  • Increased it monthly lending to $160m
  • Average age of new customers is under 30

Australia’s largest customer-owned bank, Great Southern Bank – previously known as Credit Union Australia, has announced the doubling of its market share of first home buyers in just a year.

More specifically, Great Southern increased its monthly lending to about $160 million in December of last year – up from the $80 million recorded in December 2020. The bank now supports 2% of the first home buyer market in Australia, and overall has 381,000 Australian customers.

During this time, industry lending to first home buyers fell 10%.

As a customer-owned bank, it’s our responsibility to help with the great financial challenge for this generation – owning your own home,” said Paul Lewis, CEO and Managing Director of Great Southern Bank.

“Thanks to our strong, sustainable financial performance we are making a meaningful, positive difference in the lives of more Australians, and helping them achieve their dreams of home ownership.

“Much of our work has been in support of the Government home ownership schemes. Through these schemes – namely the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, the New Home Guarantee and the Family Home Guarantee – Great Southern Bank has helped around 3,000 people to buy their own home over the past two years.”

The news comes as the Federal Government has announced a significant expansion of the schemes in light of the federal budget, which will be handed down tomorrow night.

New tech bolstering efficiency

paul lewis
Great Southern Bank CEO, Paul Lewis. Image – Linkedin.

Mr Lewis added that the bank has increased investments in new technology, such as the Lendfast home loan origination system, which has delivered operation efficiency. Subsequently, this has allowed Great Southern to grow its lending while managing costs effectively.

“Our investment in technology in recent years has put us in a good position,” he said.

“We’re agreeing a higher number of home loans in a significantly reduced period of time. Our home lending grew at 1.8 times system growth over the half year thanks to the strength of our offering and the way our rebrand to Great Southern Bank [from CUA] is resonating with first-time buyers and refinancing Australians.

“Crucially, the ‘time to yes’ – or the average time taken to unconditionally approve a loan – is down to two days for many loans. This is great news for our customers and our growing network of brokers.

Paul Lewis, Great Southern Bank CEO

Mr Lewis noted that by December 2021, 77% of home loans were arranged by brokers, up from 56% a year earlier.

“We are deep in negotiations to add new aggregators – and thousands of new brokers – to our network in the coming months,” he said.

After the rebranding in June 2021, the bank has witnessed an influx of younger new customers.

The average age of new customers is under 30 –20 years younger than the average overall customer base age of 49 years old.

“That’s encouraging – we rebranded from a credit union to a bank to ensure our relevance to future generations, as our research showed that 70 per cent of millennials don’t know what a credit union is. Attracting this younger audience is a strong sign that we are moving in the right direction.”

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