Business & Economy Property Mortgage exit by Westpac leaves borrowers hanging

Mortgage exit by Westpac leaves borrowers hanging




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About 300 of Westpac Singapore’s customers were notified that the bank would unwind its mortgage loan portfolio. The decision to unwind its mortgage loan portfolio will affect properties in Australia and New Zealand.

Westpac Banking Corp is of Australia’s oldest and second largest bank, and its Singapore office is Asia’s headquarters. According to Business Times, the bank gave its customers six months (till end September) to repay or refinance the loans within this time period.

Westpac’s decision to unwind its mortgage loan portfolio comes after bank posted its worst half-year profit since 2013.

It was reported in early May that the bank posted its second lowest half-year profit since 2013, as interest income shrank along with the housing market, and costs increased as the bank compensated some of its customers for mishandled services.

Analysts noted that there was no sign that Westpac would see a rebound in profits in the short term, and that falling housing demand, tightening credit standards and greater competition from non-banking sector, will constrain the bank’s performance.

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They added that the weakness in the housing market, as well as increasing numbers of borrowers rolling-off interest only loan into principal and interest, is resulting in a rise in mortgage delinquencies. The proportion of borrowers at least 30 days behind on their mortgage loan in Australia has risen from 14 per cent in September to 159 per cent at the end of March.

Image credit: Australian High Commission Singapore

The decision by Westpac to unwind its mortgage loan portfolio also comes after the Australian regulators in responding to property price boom, responded with lending caps.

Wespac’s chief executive officer, Brian Hartzer, was recorded as saying, “regulatory activity is intense, economic growth has slowed, consumer and business demand has softened, house prices have fallen and competition has increased. All these have put pressure on earnings and given us a list of issues to manage.”

Mr Hartzer added: “This is a disappointing result reflecting weaker business conditions and the bank dealing decisively with outstanding issues, including remediation and resetting our wealth strategy.”

Using mortgage brokers has many obvious benefits

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Westpac’s decision to unwind its mortgage loan portfolio as several Australian lenders are clamping down on home loans to foreigners as concerns about housing market down under mount. Rising demand, especially from China, has triggered concern that Australian residents are being priced out of the property market.

Westpac said in late April that it will no longer lend to offshore customers who are not citizens, or who do not hold appropriate residency visas. And since early May, the bank followed up with a formal demand for payment from some customers, reminding them of the terms of the facility.

If the outstanding mortgage loan remain unpaid, the bank cautioned that it would not hesitate to take its client to a court or take possession of the related property. The demand notice also said that if the outstanding loan was not cleared, it intended to notify a credit reporting agency of the default by the customer.

The bank said that its decision to close its investment property loan book in Singapore as well as in Hong Kong was made after careful consideration of commercial and strategic factors, including its ability to service this market competitively. Westpac has since stopped offering new loans in 2016.

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Options for customers affected by Westpac’s decision to unwind its mortgage loan portfolio includes a non-exclusive, non-binding arrangement with HSBC in Singapore, to assist with local refinance options, subject to the latter’s loan application process, credit criteria and relevant terms and conditions.


Why you should refinance your mortgage loan while you still can

Whether you are looking to invest or refinance your Australian property, you can now seamlessly finance it locally with the new HSBC International Mortgage. Exclusively for residential properties in Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, you can enjoy:

  • Option of AUD or SGD financing
  • Loan tenor of up to 30 years
  • Loan amount of up to 70% (for AUD loan) and 60% (for SGD loan) of purchase price or property value, whichever is lower


Exclusive promotional interest rate

As HSBC’s valued customer, you will be offered an exclusive promotional interest rates when you take up an International Mortgage (for Australian property only) with HSBC.

Loan Interest Rate
SGD Loan 3M SIBOR# + 2.28% throughout loan tenor (indicative 4.22% as at 7 May 2019)


AUD Loan 1M AUD VLR+ + 2.18% throughout loan tenor (indicative 3.78% as at 7 May 2019)



  • Singapore Citizens / Permanent Residents or Foreigners (Employment Pass holders) residing in Singapore
  • Minimum loan size of $200,000 (AUD/SGD)

The minimum income to qualify for this International Mortgage for Australian property is $180,000 per annum. HSBC can provide such loans for foreigners residing in Singapore, whereas other banks cannot. Its Australian dollar loan rate is below 4% – one of the best any lender can provide. But refinance can only be done Singapore dollar to Singapore dollar or Australian dollar to Australian dollar.

How to Secure a Home Loan Quickly

Are you planning to invest in properties in Australia but ensure of funds availability for purchase? Don’t worry because iCompareLoan mortgage broker can set you up on a path that can get you a home loan in a quick and seamless manner. We are the experts who do the work for you for free, while you lean back, rest and rely on our professionalism at absolutely no cost to you.

Our brokers have close links with the best lenders in town and can help you compare Singapore home loans and settle for a package that best suits your home purchase needs. Find out money saving tips here.

Whether you are looking for a new home loan or to refinance, the Mortgage broker can help you get everything right from calculating mortgage repayment, comparing interest rates all through to securing the best home loans in Singapore. And the good thing is that all our services are free of charge. So it’s all worth it to secure a loan through us.

For advice on a new home loan.

For refinancing advice.Follow us on Social Media

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