The Reserve Bank requires banks to control the number of loans where customers have less than a 20% deposit.
No more than 10% of the value of owner-occupier mortgages is permitted to be made available at that level.
As the value of loans approaches the 10% level, banks fear they might breach the cap as loans work their way through the system, and so will often put a pause on such loans until the pressure eases.
The ASB has now done this.
“We currently have a full pipeline of customers who are pre-approved for a home loan with an LVR above 80 percent (less than 20% deposit),” the bank said.
“To ensure we continue to adhere to the Reserve Bank requirement to have no more than 10 percent of owner-occupied mortgage lending at this level, we have temporarily stopped offering new home loans to customers with an LVR of more than 80%.”
ASB said it would continue to document loans for customers currently in its pipeline with an LVR above 80 percent as long as they find a property within their pre-approval timeframe.
It added it was still taking applications from customers who met the RBNZ’s high LVR exemption criteria, such as customers wanting to build a new home.
ASB said it would resume high LVR lending as soon as it could.
Earlier, the ANZ made a similar decision.
It gave the same reason as ASB and added customers with existing approvals would be unaffected pending the expiry date of their approval.
As with ASB, new builds would be treated differently.
Kiwibank took a softer view, but indicated it still had concerns, saying for any over 80% LVR lending that is subject to RBNZ restrictions, it would prioritise Kiwibank customers who already use it as their main bank and were looking to buy their first home.
It said high LVR loans might also be available to customers under other schemes such as teaming up with friends or family to get onto the property ladder.
Westpac said it regularly reviewed its housing book against the RBNZ LVR limits and currently had no plans to pause lending to customers with deposits of less than 20%.
BNZ also had no plans to change its practices. But it stressed all lending was done on a case-by-case basis.