The Big Four – Commonwealth Bank, NAB, ANZ and Westpac – are the largest players in Australia's mortgage market. Each of the Big Four banks offers a range of home loans, strong customer service networks and local branches.
But by sticking with a big bank you could be missing out on a better interest rate from a smaller lender. Smaller Australian lenders are regulated by APRA and ASIC, just like the Big Four, and can be just as good as the banking giants.
Use this page to compare Big Four bank home loan rates and get more information about how to choose the right lender for you.
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Tell me more about the Big Four
Australia's four banking giants are all unique in their own way and together hold roughly 75% of the market. We've listed them here by size, as measured in market capitalisation (according to KPMG's Major Australian Banks report).
The Commonwealth Bank. Australia's largest bank, CBA is a massive institution with a strong market share.
Westpac. Australia's second biggest bank, Westpac started life as the Bank of New South Wales in 1817. Westpac owns many well-known finance brands, including St.George.
ANZ. This bank has a strong presence in both Australian and New Zealand. ANZ now operates in 33 markets around the world.
NAB. The National Australia Bank has been around for almost 160 years and has 9 million customers, mainly in Australia and New Zealand but also across the globe.
What are my alternatives to a home loan from the Big Four?
Mortgage lending in Australia is a thriving, crowded industry, with lenders big and small looking to lend you money. Alternatives to the major lenders include:
Online lenders. If you're comfortable with applying online or over the phone an online lender could be convenient and save you money. These lenders often have the lowest rates.
Non-banks. Credit unions, building societies and other non-bank institutions offer mortgages and are also very competitive.
Smaller banks. Many local banks can serve customers in cities, states or large portions of the country. There are also newer bank brands, often operating online, which offer cheaper rates. Some of these brands are owned by one of the Big Four.
Fintechs and neobanks. Smaller, high-tech startups are beginning to enter the mortgage market. They can be very competitive and convenient if you're comfortable with banking via an app.
Lenders in the categories above often overlap. A small bank could be entirely online, while credit unions may have limited physical branches and a strong online service. And some banks are starting to use the technology of the fintechs.
Compare home loan rates from other competitive lenders
Rates last updated December 5th, 2019
What are the benefits of getting a mortgage with a big bank?
Australia's four largest lenders dominate the market. Most people have an account with them, and many home buyers stick with their bank when getting a loan.
Convenience and service. The Big Four have the largest networks of ATMs and physical branches. For many people, face-to-face service and brick and mortar branches are very important.
Product range. The big lenders have products for most Australian borrowers and a greater range than many smaller lenders.
Stability. Even small Australian lenders are heavily regulated, so this shouldn't be a big concern. But the Big Four are the oldest and biggest lenders for a reason.
Service. The Big Four have large customer service departments. They are also the most likely to have dedicated migrant banking services for non-residents.
Are there any downsides to banking with the Big Four?
Low rates. If you want the absolute lowest interest rates on the market (and this will save you money) there are lower options than the Big Four. It's not always a huge difference, but shaving 20-30 basis points off your mortgage can make a noticeable difference to your repayments.
Few options for non-conforming borrowers. If you have bad credit or are self-employed you might have a harder time getting approved for a mortgage from the big banks.
Technology. The Big Four have strong online banking and well-designed apps, but there are smaller fintech lenders and neobanks offering faster service, better apps and more tools to help you manage your mortgage.
What about trust, stability and regulations? Are the big banks safer?
Australian lenders are relatively stable.
As mentioned earlier, all registered financial institutions, regardless of their size, are regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
Financial institutions are required to hold a certain portion of capital, as they provide a permanent commitment of funds and are available to absorb losses.
The lender takes on the risk, not the borrower
lender went bankrupt tomorrow you would still owe money to whoever took control over your old lender. This is quite rare, and wouldn't actually affect your mortgage contract.
Some smaller lenders are actually backed by the Big Four
You might not know this, but the nation's biggest institutions own or are associated with the following financial brands:
NAB.UBank is a digital bank owned by NAB, although it operates by its own brand philosophy and strategy.
Richard Whitten is Finder's home loans writer. He helps Australians understand the ins and outs of mortgages so they can find lower rates and make smarter property decisions. Richard trained as a high school English teacher at the University of Sydney, but found that mortgage management was more rewarding than classroom management. Before working at Finder he lived in Seoul, where he edited textbooks and ran communication courses for Korean corporations.
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