Home owner Belinda Hills welcomes changes to make switching banks and comparing rates easier.
Home owner Belinda Hills welcomes changes to make switching banks and comparing rates easier. Kerri Burns-Taylor

Web makes bank switching easier

CHRISTMAS presents, car registrations and impending New Year bills – new measures to see if customers can save money by switching banks has been a God-send for local home owners.

Treasurer Wayne Swan is set to announce the changes next week and has publicly urged mortgage holders to ditch the big banks and switch to a credit union or building society.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission have also got on board the cause with the release of a Mortgage Switching Calculator, which allows home owners to easily see whether or not they will save money by switching home loans.

Warwick woman Belinda Hills, 20, bought her first home with partner Sam Williams, 22, two years ago and said although she hadn't been hugely affected by the recent rate rises, she would always be open to saving a little extra money.

“The rate rises so farhaven't had a big impact on us but there are always times when you struggle, like at Christmas or at rego and rates time,” Ms Hills said.

“Even if it is $10 a week, it all makes a difference.

“We want to pay off as much as we can while we're still young and don't have kids, so that when we do decide to have them we can drop back a bit.”

Before obtaining a home loan, Ms Hills said she and Mr Williams researched online to ensure that they were getting the best deal.

“We used the calculators where you put in your details and it works out how much you will have to pay,” she said.

“We ended up going with the Warwick Credit Union because we wanted to stick with our locals and they were really friendly and helped us out a lot.”

Ms Hills said she understood how some people can be deterred from switching banks and welcomed new changes to make changing easier.

“Sometimes I think switching would be too difficult,” Ms Hills said.

“All of the stuffing around with closing a bank account is bad enough, so it would be good if it was made easier.

Home owner Linda Dally, who has a mortgage with the Commonwealth Bank, says she is unhappy with the bank's recent rate rises and says she would ‘definitely' use the online tool to determine whether switching would be financially beneficial to her.

“We've looked at some of the credit unions and would consider switching to one, as long as they had a good his- tory,” Mrs Dally said.

A Warwick Credit Union spokesperson said the establishment had increased its variable lending rates to reflect increased costs of funds but had kept this increase as low as possible.

She added the credit union took a responsible approach to maintain balance between the interests of borrowers and depositors and did not seek to maximise profits through inflated rates or costs.


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