CBA counting down to ACCC decision on its Mortgage Choice stake

The Commonwealth Bank is considering whether to sell the 17% stake it acquired in Mortgage Choice following its acquisition of financial planner Count Financial.

Count is Mortgage Choice’s biggest shareholder.

The bank already owns a third of John Symond’s Aussie Home Loans business, which competes directly with Mortgage Choice.

In addition, Count has its own mortgage broking division known as Finconnect, which sells loans through loan writers and professional referral partners such as doctors, lawyers and accountants.

The bank says will consider selling its stake in Mortgage Choice if it its stake in the company is identified as a problem by competition watchdog the ACCC.

However, Commonwealth Bank might decide to offload its stake in Mortgage Choice regardless of the ACCC’s position because there would be little strategic benefit to having a stake in the mortgage broker, the Australian Financial Review reported.

The Commonwealth Bank is the biggest home lender in Australia and is one of 25 home loan lenders that Mortgage Choice brokers can offer to its clients.

According to Mortgage Choice’s annual results for the 2011 financial year, the major banks accounted for 61% of all loans written by its brokers.

Analysts do not expect the ACCC to block the deal.

CBA will pay $373 million to acquire the financial planner.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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