ASB cancels pre-approved loans

MARTA STEEMAN
Last updated 14:07 23/09/2013

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ASB Bank is withdrawing all of its pre-approved loans where the amount being lent is above 80 per cent of the value of the property.

The bank made the announcement this morning to the mortgage brokers it deals with.

Head of third-party banking, Marc Oliver, would not say how many pre-approved loans and people were affected.

The bank's letter to brokers said the new Reserve Bank restriction on how much banks could lend, which kicks in on October 1, was behind the move.

"Clearly this decision will disappoint customers who currently have a pre-approved home loan offer in the above 80 per cent LVR [loan-to-value ratio] category," Nick Stanhope, general manager business banking and retail specialist services, said.

"As a result of this review we have made the decision to withdraw all outstanding above-80 per cent LVR pre-approved loan offers with effect from October 4, 2013."

The bank would advise affected customers over the next few days, and would encourage them to review their circumstances and see how the bank might be able to help with a new pre-approved loan.

That might involve rethinking the size of their deposit or the value of the property they wanted to buy.

Fairfax is contacting other banks.

Christchurch broker Lachie Marshall said the central bank's loan restriction would not work in damping house price increases.

Marshall said first-home buyers were not to blame for the rising prices, and did not know how many pre-approved loans were affected nationally or in Christchurch.

"Christchurch-wise I'd say a significant number," he said.

Marshall said the Reserve Bank did not understand how the home-lending market worked.

"If this is designed to slow house prices it simply won't work," he said.

"It means poor first home buyers aren't in the marketplace without mum and dad's help."

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