INDEPENDENT NEWS

Kiwis Get Greater Choice Of Online Mortgages

Published: Wed 3 Apr 2002 01:39 PM
Residential mortgage specialist company, Wizard Home Loans has upgraded its online lending capability, offering Kiwis the kinds of services that has made Wizard a leading online lender in Australia.
Wizard’s new New Zealand website is at a new address: www.wizard.net.nz.
The site features:
- Direct comparisons between Wizard’s loans and mortgages and those that are available from Wizard’s competitors (www.wizard.net.nz/calculators/compare.asp)
- A quick-calculator which tells customers how much they can afford to borrow
- On-line applications for mortgages, with application follow-up via Wizard
branches
“People visiting a mortgage website want to know how much they can borrow and how much that will cost compared to competitors,” said Wizard executive chairman Mark Bouris.
“In this industry, a hot site allows people to answer those questions, quickly and clearly. That’s one of the primary aims of the new site – to tell you what Wizard can loan you, and how much that will cost compared to our competitors. We’re not afraid of that comparison.”
Mr Bouris said that the site also featured technical improvements akin to those at Wizard’s award-winning Australian site. The new Wizard website retains the previous site’s easy loan management features. It allows customers on-line access to their loan history and balance, to make requests for statements, and to make adjustments such as scheduling extra repayments. Wizard customers can self-manage their loans online at no extra cost.
Mr Bouris said that Wizard had invested in upgrading its website in tandem with its opening of new branches throughout the country.
“Our distribution model shows the Internet dovetails well with a branch network, giving customers greater flexibility and choice.
“Judging by Wizard’s experience in Australia, we expect to double the number of mortgages we write from website sales,” Mr Bouris said.
Wizard Home Loans is a mortgage originator, creating its own home loan products, financed through Australian Mortgage Securities Pty Ltd (AMS). AMS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ABN Amro, the fifth largest bank in the world.
The company has around 4.5% of the Australian new lending market and is the leading non-bank lender on both sides of the Tasman in terms of growth and volume. Wizard is backed by Kerry Packer’s PBL Group along with international investors represented by Deutsche Asset Management. Wizard has twice been voted the Best Non-Bank Financial Institution by Australian ‘Banking and Finance’ magazine.
In Australia’s ‘Your Mortgage’ magazine Online Lender of the Year Awards, the ‘ewizard’ site was ranked second overall in 2000, in front of Australia’s four major banks, and number one amongst non-banks. The site also won the overall design award.
Wizard has expanded quickly in New Zealand since it opened its first branch in Auckland in August 2000.
Wizard has five branches in Auckland and one each in Hamilton, Palmerston North, Hawkes Bay, Christchurch, and Dunedin, with new offices planned for Tauranga, Wellington, and the Hutt Valley.
Wizard has offered market-leading, floating-rate home loans at around one-third to half a percent below the major banks since it entered the New Zealand market.
Mr Bouris said the company was pleased with its progress in New Zealand, and was unlocking a real surge in business as Kiwis began to understand the emergence of some real choice in a market dominated by bank lenders.
For further information: www.wizard.net.nz

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