During the House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Economics, ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott said the current serviceability buffer set by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) remains appropriate.
“I think 3% feels about right. We don't know what the future hold. We're very comfortable with the 3%,” he said.
Under APRA’s current prudential framework in assessing a borrower’s repayment capacity, banks include a 3-percentage points buffer to be applied above the current housing loan interest rate.
Mr Elliott said while there are no plans currently to change the serviceability buffers, the bank might to revisit its stance in the future should there be any further changes in the current interest rate environment.
All other majors have already announced changes to their serviceability rates after the Reserve Bank of Australia has raised the cash rate by 400bps since May 2022.
The changes are primarily to those wishing to refinance who have good credit scores and good repayment history - not untested new customers - who are finding it hard to get a better deal under the existing framework.
In a statement released to the media, NAB said it will be “refreshing” its existing approach to support eligible refinance customers switching to NAB who have good credit histories but may not fully meet the current standard lending criteria.
The bank said it will employ a “case-by-case” approach when assessing refinancers starting 21 July.
NAB’s move follows Westpac and CommBank’s decision to lower the rate at which borrowers are assessed when refinancing.
Early in June, the APRA sent a letter addressed to all authorised deposit-taking institutions, calling for them to ensure that any changes to the serviceability rules to accommodate refinancers must still follow the core intent of its guidance on credit risk management.