This week in banking - Athena Home Loans causes a stir

There was plenty happening in the world of Australian banking this week, including some exciting new players in the home loan market it’ll pay to keep a close eye on. Here are the latest changes you should know about.

Athena Home Loans enters the market

In home loan news, a new provider has entered the fray. Athena Home Loans hopes to cause a bit of a stir among lenders with its low rates and minimal fees. It’s motto - “love us and leave us” - gets at the heart of what a home loan should be about: getting rid of it as quickly as possible.

Rates for owner occupiers start at 3.49% p.a. (3.51% comparison rate*), with investor options starting at 3.89% p.a. (3.91% comparison rate*). Loyal customers will also be rewarded with a 1 basis point reduction each year for the first 5 years, but if you sign up now, you’ll have the max discount applied straight away.

“We’re starting to see more and more fintechs emerging as challenger lenders and many of them offer genuinely good value,” said Mozo Data Manager Peter Marshall. “Athena is one of those lenders."

Bendigo Bank introduces Express Loan

Bendigo Bank, in partnership with subsidiary Tic:Toc, has just come out with a new Express Loan. This uses technology established by Tic:Toc to quickly assess applicant’s statements and provide them with instant approval.

Marnie Baker, MD of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, said “partnering with fintechs, we continue to set the bar for best-of-breed solutions and outcomes for our customers, making it easier for them to engage with our Bank and providing them with certainty more quickly in our fast-paced world.”

The product offers a 3.89% variable rate (4.19% comparison rate*) for owner occupiers and 4.44% for investment loans (4.73% comparison rate*).

Variable home loans

Turning to rates, this week was filled with more ups and downs than usual. Commonwealth Bank has lowered the 4 year introductory rate for its Extra Home Loan by 0.10%. First home buyers will now pay a variable rate of 3.84% p.a. for the first 48 months, and then 4.50% p.a. (4.39% comparison rate*) afterwards.

Auswide Bank, on the other hand, hiked a number of rates across the board. Its Special Discount Home Loan Plus Freedom Package (with the exception of the interest-only option for investors, which actually decreased) and Standard Variable Home Loan both saw increases.

MyState Bank has raised rates for its Basic Variable Home Loan by at least 0.10%. Its principal and interest offering for a 90-95% LVR jumped up from 4.39% p.a. to 4.64% p.a. (4.67% comparison rate*), an increase of 0.25%. We also saw rate increases for its Special Residential Home Loan and Standard Variable Home Loan.

Fixed home loans

People’s Choice Credit Union has dropped rates for its 2 year Fixed Rate Home Loan and 3 year First Home Buyer Fixed Rate Loan by 0.10% and 0.05%, respectively. They now both sit at 3.84% p.a. (5.17% and 4.64% comparison rate*).

Citibank’s 1 and 2 year Fixed Rate Loan for owner occupiers saw decreases of 0.24%. Both now offer a rate of 3.85% (5.86% and 5.67% comparison rate*).

Regional Australia Bank has made sizeable cuts to its Fixed Home Loan (Partnership Advantage) and Steady Rate Home Loan. 5 year offerings for owner occupiers were all decreased by 0.20%.

Term deposits

MyState Bank made cuts of between 0.05% and 0.25% to its range of term deposits, however there were a few increases, as in the case of the 4 month term, which went up 0.25%.

Westpac, BankVic and ING also followed the trend of mainly cutting rates, with a few exceptions here and there. February marked the fifth month in a row that term deposit rate cuts have outnumbered the increases.

If you want an idea of the term deposit rates currently on offer, check out our term deposit comparison page.

*WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.