ASIC releases guideline updates to help ‘mortgage prisoners' refinance

Ceyda Erem

12 Dec 2019

Mortgage prisioners content

A year on from Mozo’s analysis of the rising number of ‘mortgage prisoners’, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has made guideline updates to the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2019 about responsible lending to mortgage prisoners. 

Coined last year, the term ‘mortgage prisoners’ refers to homeowners who are unable to refinance their home loans because they would now fail to meet lending requirements required by banks. 

According to Mozo’s home loan expert, Steve Jovcevski, these are the homeowners that require the most financial assistance. 

RELATED: The number of Aussie ‘mortgage prisoners’ is set to rise, according to Mozo research

“The sad reality is borrowers who need competitive mortgage rates to stay financially afloat are most likely to be mortgage prisoners. When a customer is essentially tied to a provider, they are at the mercy of whatever rate rise or conditions the bank chooses to impose,” he said.

However, the new guideline update from ASIC will now provide transparency and assistance to lenders and brokers to their obligations when assessing customers looking to refinance their home loans. 

For instance, a borrower would be a suitable candidate for refinancing their loan if they’ve regularly made payments on time with their existing loan. 

A borrower would also be eligible should the new rate result in lower repayments as well as meet their product requirements. 

Although regular and on time repayments may be music to the ears of many lenders, ASIC has acknowledged that it could also “disguise circumstances of financial stress”. 

“Consumers will generally prioritise repayments for a principal asset such as a home over other outgoings and may take on additional credit to meet repayments (e.g. by using a credit card),” the Regulatory Guide states. 

RELATED: Australia’s best refinance home loans for 2019

To combat this, the regulatory body has recommended that lenders and brokers obtain a repayment history of at least 12 months and that they make themselves aware of any:

  • Signs of financial stress, such as credit card delinquencies or missing utility repayments 

  • Signs of financial stability, such as paying their credit balance in full 

Refinancing your home loan could make a massive difference to your monthly repayments and more importantly save you thousands over the life of your loan, so if you’re interested to find out if you could be getting a better deal on your home loan, check out our home loan comparison tool

Home loans for refinancers

Rates updated daily. Advertiser disclosure.

  • loans.com.au
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge" style="width:60px;">

    1.85% p.a.variable for 24 months and then 2.25% p.a.

    2.21% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Smart Booster Home Loan

    2 Year Discounted Variable Rate, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, <80% LVR

    1.85% p.a.variable for 24 months and then 2.25% p.a.

    2.21% p.a.

    New super low introductory rate home loan for two years. Min 20% deposit. No monthly or ongoing fees. Fast settlement times. Mozo award-winning online lender. Friendly, local Australian based team.

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  • Athena
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge" style="width:60px;">

    1.99% p.a.

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    $1234

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    Celebrate Variable Home Loan

    <60% LVR, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    1.99% p.a.

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    Fast and efficient online application. Automatic discounts as loan is paid down. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Zero fees. Min 40% deposit required. Winner of three Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

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  • HSBC

    p.a.

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    Fixed Rate Home Loan Home Loan Package

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR <80%

    p.a.

    2.87% p.a.

    Ability to split your home loan between Fixed and Variable. Dedicated Relationship Manager. Min 20% deposit. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more could receive $3,288 cashback (T&Cs, eligibility and lending criteria apply).

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    Ability to split your home loan between Fixed and Variable. Dedicated Relationship Manager. Min 20% deposit. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more could receive $3,288 cashback (T&Cs, eligibility and lending criteria apply).

    • $390.00 yearly

    • $300.00

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    • Receive $3,288 cashback when you refinance an existing home loan of $250,000. Must apply by 31 December 2021 and settle by 28 February 2022.

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  • Macquarie

    p.a.

    2.19% p.a.

    $1234

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    Basic Home Loan

    Fixed, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR<70%

    p.a.

    2.19% p.a.

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    Basic Home Loan

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^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home loans Awards