Q&A: Why Heartland launched a sub-2% rate

Heartland has launched New Zealand's lowest ever mortgage rate. Here's why the group is taking on the big banks.

Chris Flood

TMM Online spoke with Heartland Bank chief executive Chris Flood and Heartland Group chief of staff Laura Byrne about the bank's headline-grabbing 1.99% home loan rate.

Why have you launched this product now?

Coming out with a top rate we need to think that our position can be maintained. With these rates we think they can be. Everybody has the ability to drop rates and compete, but we feel confident these rates will remain attractive. 

Are there any other benefits to customers, such as cash backs? 

There are no cash backs. It's very simple. As with last time, it is restricted to main centres, with vanilla lending standards, requiring 20% equity, and limited to salary and wage earners.

How long does the application and approval process take? 

The application process is really quick and takes about three minutes. Fulfilment always takes longer, as we need to involve other parties, such as solicitors and valuers.

How long does the offer run for? 

We will assess it as it goes. It will be limited but there's no dollar value. We want to keep an eye on things. 

Are there funding constraints? 

We have the added benefit of being part of the Heartland Group, so we have a number of financing options. Loans could sit at group level. 

How much interest have you had so far? 

There are currently 90 people in the application process and we've had 380 site visits. 

How long did the last digital mortgage product run for? 

Our $50 million limit last time was filled in the first three weeks. 

Could Heartland's digital loans be a permanent product? 

Absolutely, and that's the reason we're doing it. We want to be market leading in everything we do.

Will other banks join you below 2%? 

Mortgage lending is a competitive market. I don't know what other competitors are thinking or might do. We're not leaving it out there forever so we will have to wait and see.

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