Turnaround times deteriorate: survey

Turnaround times "seem to have got worse" following Covid-19, according to a new survey conducted by economist Tony Alexander.

Alexander's monthly review of the mortgage adviser market finds advisers remain frustrated by processing at the major lenders, with banks under staffing strain. 

"Banks are extremely slow to process requests and turnaround times seem to have got worse," Alexander notes, echoing reports from the industry to TMM Online in recent months.

The issue seems to be persistent. One adviser told TMM Online that turnarounds with ANZ were taking "ten days", leading to frustration among clients.

The survey notes a concern over tightening lending criteria, but hopes from the industry that "very mild easing" may be appearing. 

ASB was the first big four bank in months to ease servicing criteria last week, as it announced a series of rate cuts for high LVR borrowers

Elsewhere in the survey, a net 45% of advisers said first home buyers were more active. That was down from a net 79% in June, but still a high figure, Alexander said, "suggesting that the rush of first home buyers hoping to take advantage of low interest rates (and perhaps some stressed vendors) is still quite strong".

Meanwhile, a net 23% of mortgage advisers saw more investors in the market looking for advice, down from a net 51% in June. Alexander attributed this to a "complete absence of any story of properties selling at heavily discounted prices".

The fall in mortgage rates has not led to a wave of refinancings, as banks remain conservative on their internal limits. 

According to the survey, only a net 12% of advisers saw more refinancing enquiries, compared with a net 29% last month. 

A net 53% of advisers said finance availability had tightened up, compared to a net 60% in June. 

The Reserve Bank's biannual credit conditions survey revealed banks were hesitant to lend and concerned about "income security" following the pandemic.

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