We shadow-shopped over 15 bank and credit union branches, and discovered that bank staff have little or no idea that the key facts sheets for home loans even exist.
The new year should have got off to
a good start for people looking for a
home loan, thanks to the government’s
And, as a key
recommendation of the CHOICE Better
Banking campaign, banks are now
required to provide consumers with a
key facts sheet when enquiring about a
However, consumers need
to ask for one – and it’s this catch that is
already proving difficult.
The purpose of this one-page
summary is to make it easy to compare
loans, fees and ongoing costs rather
than struggling through a variety of
different brochures, handouts and
information provided by each
financial institution you visit.
What the CHOICE shadow shop revealed
We decided to put this
to the test.
18 bank and credit union branches in a variety
of locations in Sydney between mid-January and early February.
as a first-home buyer looking to borrow
about $300,000, and asked if they could
be provided with comparative fee and
interest information they could take
away, without using the phrase
“key fact sheet”.
The results were unpleasantly
surprising. Of the 18 branches visited,
only one was able to provide our shadow shopper the key fact sheet and this was only after they asked
Here are some examples of the documentation the Big Four banks gave our shadow shoppers to take home. ANZ was the only institution to provide a key facts sheet.
At two branches the shadow
shoppers were turned away and asked
to call to make an appointment, while at
another a bank staffer said she’d heard
of some kind of fact sheet but didn’t
think it was available yet.
out the details of the various home
loans on a piece of paper (branded
with an insurance company and not the
bank in question), while others seemed
to be far more interested in getting our shoppers into a pre-approval situation
for a loan.
One of our shadow shoppers
was even asked if she planned on
having children as she discussed
the loan process but still didn’t
receive a key fact sheet.
While most of the institutions we
visited do provide key fact sheets on
their websites, overall it seems that
bank staff have little or no idea the fact
sheets even exist.
from ASIC, the regulator responsible
for policing key fact sheets, told us
it’s “monitoring compliance with the
new reforms by looking at individual
complaints and industry-wide conduct.”
“It seems the last thing the big
banks want to do is help consumers
compare products,” says CHOICE
head of campaigns, Matt Levey. “We
don’t think consumers should have
to come up with three magic words
– key fact sheets – to get access to
clear information to help them find
the best mortgage offer.”
For more information about Mortgages, see our Borrowing section.