Mortgage broker vs direct to bank

By   |   Updated 30th July 2021

Mortgage Brokers vs go direct to the bank

Shopping around to get the best home loan is one of the key steps in any home purchase. Whether you are a first home buyer or you’ve done this all before, deciding to use a mortgage broker or make a direct application to a bank, is actually a critical decision. It could make or break your home buying plans.

For property purchasers, particularly first home buyers or homeowners doing their first refinance, getting approval for the best mortgage can be a nerve wracking procedure.

You don’t want to go through the whole process of applying for a mortgage only to told that you won’t be given pre-approval. Nor do you get too excited about historically low advertised interest rates only to discover that they don’t approve people who run their own business or people with your credit score.

There’s a whole raft of things to consider, so having some experienced help from a professional broker or bank lender can make this part of the property process much less stressful.

But who should you turn to? Is it best to pick a good mortgage broker? Or is it easier to apply directly with your bank and hope for the best? People will have varied opinions based on their limited experiences with both routes.

We take a look at the pros and cons of mortgage brokers and direct bank lending representatives, to help you decide who you should turn to.

Applying with a mortgage broker

Well over 50% of mortgages in Australia now go through a mortgage broker, for a reason. People value choice. And they really appreciate getting expert service to not only choose the product but also do all the paperwork for them.

A mortgage broker negotiates on your behalf, dealing directly with banks and other lenders to assist you in securing a home loan. They will work with you through the loan process from start to finish, taking into consideration your specific needs and goals. A broker will assist you to work out what you can and can’t afford to borrow and present you with options from a variety of lenders.

We recommend getting a free credit score check before going for home loan pre-approval. Knowing your credit score can give you a good indication of whether your application is likely to succeed.

Brokers will also explain each of the loan products to you, in order to assist you in making the best choice for your future. The broker will then apply for your loan and manage the process on your behalf right through until settlement. They’re essentially your mouthpiece to the bank and hold your hand (metaphorically) through the home loan process.

Mortgage brokers are subject to stringent operating conditions and impartiality obligations, often referred to as the Best Interests Duty, through the provision of credit assistance to consumers.

This legal duty requires mortgage brokers to act in the best interests of consumers, and to put their consumer's interests before their own, meaning that they can’t recommend products that are not suited to consumers needs just because they earn more commission for one product over another.

Many mortgage brokers belong to professional bodies — either MFAA or FBAA for accreditation — and receive ongoing training.

Pros

  • The Best Interests Duty means that mortgage brokers must steer you towards a product that works for you, not the broker, even if that means the broker gets paid less.
  • Access to a wide range of banks and lenders, so you can be matched with the best home loan for your circumstances.
  • Mortgage brokers know how to interpret bank lending policies and can explain the nuances of your application in order to get you approved.
  • One point of contact through the process who can address any queries and concerns you may have.
  • It's usually free to use a broker, who are paid a commission by the lender or bank after you’ve been approved.

Cons

  • Your application will still be judged by the lender or bank, whose decision is final.
  • There’s no guarantee your application will be approved, even with the best of broker advice and service.

From paying your bills on time to reducing your debt to credit ratio, there are several things you can do to improve your credit score.

Applying directly with a bank

Approaching a bank directly for your home loan is worth considering, particularly if you have a good credit score and clean credit history, have a regular income in a stable job, and stable finances.

Banks have their own lending specialists who are trained to assist new customers navigate the application process. Some of them may even have been a mortgage broker before.

Pros

  • It's easy to research what's available online. You can compare home loans for rates online from a range of banks using Finty, then click through to begin the application process.
  • Being an existing customer of the home loan lender for another product may assist in your application.

Cons

  • Banks are bound by the Consumer Credit Code, not the Best Interests Duty. This means they can promote their own products even if they are not the best product on the market for a consumer’s circumstances.
  • Product choice is limited to what the bank has to offer.
  • You may find the application process and odds of getting to unconditional approval more difficult if you are not a salaried employee for a company. Self-employed business owners, casual workers in the gig economy, pensioners, etc. may struggle.
  • Most likely you’ll have more than one person to deal with during the process, including different call centre staff and mortgage lending personnel.

Which is better?

Applying for a home loan with advice from a mortgage broker or applying directly with a bank is a decision that depends on your personal circumstances, such as your financial stability, level of savings, and employment situation.

Whether you need someone to hold your hand through the process or you are a seasoned borrower, the best choice can be determined by weighing up the pros and cons of each lending experience.