While the banks figure out how to rebuild their reputations, the most immediate fallout has been increased uncertainty for would-borrowers and refinancers trying to access credit.
In July alone, over 78,000 applications were declined against a previous monthly average of around 10,000 just six months ago, according to Digital Finance Analytics.
As news of the headaches flow through the population, some projects with less urgency have simply been put on the back-burner until the pendulum swings back to a new level of normality.
And we’ve seen house prices and development approvals reflect the impact.
But much of the tightening will be here to stay, and becoming armed and getting ahead of the curve where possible, will be the best form of defence.
For example, banks, borrowers, mortgage brokers all need to analyse living expenses in some serious detail, to ensure a loan is truly affordable.
It’s not a particularly pleasant exercise, reliving those splurges and coming clean on hidden purchases, but visibility of excessive spending does prompt better management of it.
Arguably, those who sat in the “responsible borrowing” camp have lost out, as lenders won’t be taking any chances.
Every borrower will now have to bear all and prove that they have applied a pretty well considered risk assessment to their situation.
Take a recent first home buyer who was living in a shared arrangement, understandably travelling a lot and eating out frequently.
Despite a solid deposit and a strong argument that situational priorities can and do change, the client was unable to demonstrate sufficient historical savings capacity and had their “right to borrow” rejected.
Obviously armed with new knowledge, she and other first home buyers will be back shopping in a few months.
And on Credit History, lenders have all but embraced Comprehensive Credit Reporting more quickly than anticipated in the wake of Royal Commission scrutiny.
Rather than simply relying on the anomalies in a Credit Score as they have previously, any evidence that can be found by forensic style investigators pointing to overspending on credit cards, or late payments, will render borrowers “unfit applicants” by most mainstream lenders. Knowing this in advance will see most borrowers manage these facilities better in the future, rather than being unwittingly caught off-guard.
Most of it comes down to planning, as I’ve written previously, keeping an eye on finance requirements for a small business will ensure that tax minimisation isn’t the only lens applied to financial reporting.
And expectant parents may consider whether a fixed term likely to expire midway through maternity leave is the right strategy.
Who knows, maybe we will become better borrowers after-all.
For more tips and advice, contact Lanie Conquest at Surfcoast Life & Lending on 0418 938 646 or go to surfcoastlifeandlending.com.au.