What happens if my lender goes bust?

Ever wondered what happens if your bank goes bust?

Updated

Fact checked

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Home loan expert David Johnson from thehomeloanguy.com.au says your loan is an asset, and like most assets it can be sold. “The effect is that you do not lose your home, you just get a new lender.”If your lender goes bust, your loan is generally sold to another institution. Little more than the internet banking and payment details should change when your loan is transferred.

If your mortgage contract is transferred to another bank, your current agreement will stay the same as it is, only your repayments are given to a different institution.

We asked the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) about this and were told by a representative that it’s unusual for a lender to enter into a new agreement with the borrower when a loan is sold. “The loan agreement can be changed, but only in accordance with the terms of that (original) agreement.”

Borrowers in default may have their debt ‘accelerated’.

Michael Saadat, Senior Executive Leader of Deposit Takers, Credit and Insurers at Money Smart says for all this to be legal, the lender needs to sell all of your loan — not just a portion and, “express written notice of the assignment must be given.”

An assignment is a transfer of debt.

Saadat points out that if your lender ‘goes bust’, they can’t make you pay your loan out early. The exception is if you’re in default. There is such a thing as an ‘acceleration clause’. “If a debt is "accelerated, the full amount becomes due and payable immediately. It should be noted that an acceleration clause can operate only where a debtor is in default,” Saadat says.

What about the interest rate?

Once the loan assignment is made, or in other words, the loan is sold to a new lender, your interest rate may move up or down depending on how the new lender sets, and adjusts their rates. David Johnson says that the lender may even offer an incentive to keep the borrower’s business once the loan once the assignment is made.

“They can change your interest rates and fees. i.e. they may increase them to make it worthwhile in refinancing the loan. Their hope would be you refinance to them and sign a new agreement, they may offer you a rebate or some kind of inducements to stay.”

What about the bells and whistles?

If your lender is in trouble financially, they may restrict or waive loan features like a redraw facility.

“A credit contract may contain a redraw facility. The ability of a debtor to redraw funds paid in advance is usually subject to certain contractual conditions.” Saadat says.

“It may be that a credit provider experiencing financial difficulty would seek to rely on one of these conditions to disallow a debtor from redrawing these funds. If there is a dispute about a debtor's ability to access a redraw facility or another loan feature, this may be raised with an external dispute resolution service.” he continues.

How can a bank go broke?

Historically, Australian banks have fared pretty well. The last century has seen mergers and acquisitions, but few collapses.

The Home Loan Guy, David Johnson, gave this explanation when asked what happens if a lender goes bust?

”I think the easiest way to answer this questions is to look at what happened to RAMS at the start of the GFC. They generally got their money from big American intuitions on short term contracts to lend to Australians for home loans. Every 30-60 days they would have to refinance their entire business loans. And when the GFC hit, the American institutions had no money to invest. At first, they did not want to reinvest their money, even more of an issue was that they wanted their money back. The only way out for RAMS was to sell, but their customers did not lose their homes. Their home loan was now with ‘RHG’ not RAMS.”

Need a homeloan? Compare now

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
years
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate^ Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
$577.55
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
A flexible and competitive variable rate loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get $2,000 cashback per property plus a bonus $1,000 for their first application. Other conditions apply.
St.George Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$596.91
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback. With this competitive variable rate loan from St.George, refinancers borrowing $250,000+ can get up $4,000 cashback and borrow up to 80% of the property's value. (Terms, conditions & exclusions apply).
HSBC Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.88%
2.98%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$546.6
Lock in a competitive fixed rate for 2 years and buy your home with a 20% deposit.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan
2.49%
2.49%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$593.01
A competitive variable rate home loan for owner-occupiers. Requires a 40% deposit.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
2.34%
2.34%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$581.39
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan
2.54%
2.55%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$596.91
A competitive variable interest rate loan with low fees. The establishment fee is waived if you borrow $150,000 or more.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.19%
2.19%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$569.91
Owner occupiers with 40% deposits or equity can get this competitive variable rate loan. No upfront or ongoing fees.
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package
2.09%
3.46%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$562.33
Lock in a low fixed rate for the first two years. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get cashbacks between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on their loan to value ratio (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
1.95%
2.27%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$551.82
A competitive fixed interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Requires a 20% deposit.
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
1.89%
2.94%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$547.35
Lock in a low fixed rate loan for two years and get the annual package fee waived in the first year. Available for borrowers with 20% deposits.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Image: Shutterstock

More guides on Finder

Home Loan Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan - Basic Variable Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan - Basic Variable Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)

Up to $3,000 refinance cashback. A flexible and competitive variable rate loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get $2,000 cashback per property plus a bonus $1,000 for their first application. Other conditions apply.

Logo for St.George Basic Home Loan - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
St.George Basic Home Loan - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)

Up to $4,000 refinance cashback. With this competitive variable rate loan from St.George, refinancers borrowing $250,000+ can get up $4,000 cashback and borrow up to 90% of the property's value. (Terms, conditions & exclusions apply).

Logo for Athena Liberate Home Loan - 70% to 80% LVR Owner Occupier, P&I
Athena Liberate Home Loan - 70% to 80% LVR Owner Occupier, P&I

A competitive variable rate mortgage for owner occupiers $0 application and $0 ongoing fees. This interest rate falls over time as you pay off the loan.

Logo for Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan - Better Together Special Offer $150k+ LVR ≤ 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan - Better Together Special Offer $150k+ LVR ≤ 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)

Get a competitive variable interest rate with no application fee or ongoing fees.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site