Tough times ahead for non-bank lenders

Australia's 180 credit unions and 14 building societies expect that 2004 will be much tougher as mortgage loan growth slows with the cooling of the housing market. Non-bank financial institutions are vulnerable to any downturns in the property market as they're focused on home lending and many are aligned with mortgage brokers. The Australian Association of Permanent Building Societies said its members would be monitoring loan defaults and the role of brokers. According to Australian National Credit Union, the priorities for the future are building awareness of credit unions and generating more business from current members.