Macquarie Bank lining up to take ING Direct's fifth banking pillar crown

Macquarie Bank lining up to take ING Direct's fifth banking pillar crown
Macquarie Bank lining up to take ING Direct's fifth banking pillar crown

ING Direct’s much-touted position as Australia’s fifth biggest lender behind the four major banks and their subsidiary brands could come under threat from a surging Macquarie Bank eager to pick up a greater share of the mortgage market.

While Macquarie Bank has more than doubled its home lending arm in the space of a year, albeit from a low base of less than $2.8 billion to in excess of $6 billion, ING Direct’s $37 billion mortgage book has hardly expanded in the past year, APRA banking figures show.

APRA figures show an ING Direct loan book of $37.5 billion as of February 2013 compared with a $37.2 billion loan book 12 months ago.

Macquarie also has a securitised mortgage portfolio of $5.9 billion (ING Direct has no wholesale lending arm) which it using to help fund mortgage lending in Mark Bouris’ fast growing Yellow Brick Road franchise business of around 150 offices, in which it also has an 8.3% holding.

Macquarie Bank, a subsidiary of investment banking giant the Macquarie Group, quit the mortgage market in the wake of the GFC. Prior to the crisis it was predominantly a wholesale mortgage lender, providing funding for the likes of Virgin Money, via its PUMA securitisation program.

While Macquarie clearly has some way to go before it has a loan book to rival that of ING Direct it has a bigger source of retail deposits to lend against - $35.6 billion compared with ING Direct’s $31.7 billion and a stronger domestic balance sheet with local assets totalling $59.6 billion compared with ING Direct’s $49.2 billion.

Macquarie is not hiding its aspirations in the mortgage space.

As part of its annual operational briefing in February, Macquarie Group CEO Nicholas Moore noted the group’s expanding $11.1 billion mortgage portfolio and that “originations are expected to continue to grow significantly in the 2013 calendar year”.

Macquarie Bank’s deal to fund Yellow Brick Road was highlighted by Business Spectator’s Robert Gottliebsen earlier this year, who wrote that a mortgage and deposit war could erupt on the back of the cheap funding available to the Yellow Brick Road franchise network.

Tale of the tape – Feb 2013

Macquarie

ING Direct

 

Loans to owner occupiers $3.4 billion

Loans to investors $2.86 billion

Securitised loans: $5.9 billion

Total deposits $35.6 billion

Total resident assets $59.6 billion

 

Loans to owner occupiers $27.8 billion

Loans to investors $9.7 billion

Securitised loans: $0 billion

Total deposits $31.7 billion

Total resident assets $49.2 billion

Source: APRA

 


There are other obvious indications that Macquarie Bank is ramping up its mortgage lending.

The Australian Financial Review reported this week that Macquarie Bank had almost doubled the number of business development managers (BDMs) from 13 to 21 who work with its mortgage broker distribution channel – not far below the average of 25 to 35 BDMs employed by the major banks.

Nearly all of Macquarie Bank’s mortgage lending is done through the mortgage broking channel.

In addition The AFR reports that Macquarie upped its commission to mortgage brokers last year.

Combine this with its competitive mortgage offerings and the bank has soared up the top lending charts of Australia’s biggest mortgage broking franchise, Mortgage Choice, accounting for 3.9% of home loans sold by Mortgage Choice in March, up from 2.5% in February.

Macquarie is now Mortgage Choice’s 8th biggest lender with CEO Michael Russell telling the AFR it has an “insatiable” appetite to expand home loans.

ING Direct reported a net profit after tax of $276.9 million for the 2012 calendar, down 9% from last year.

In June last year, Lisa Claes, executive director of direct business at ING Direct, told Property Observer the bank was not driven by market share targets, “but by a sustainable growth proposition”.

“We want to grow our mortgage book responsibly – we are happy with where we are, but we are not complacent,” she said.

ING Direct’s offers variable home loans starting from 5.66% (for loans greater than $250,000) and a three-year fixed home loan at 5.19%.

Macquarie Bank offers variable home loans starting from 5.44% (this includes a 1.01% discount off the standard variable) and a three-year fixed home loan at 5.39%.

 

 

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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