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Most Aussies feel like ‘just a number’ with big banks

Most Aussies feel like ‘just a number’ with big banks

The majority of Australians believe a big four bank would not provide the best service for customers facing a crisis, with 34 per cent of Gen X-ers saying that they would head to a mortgage broker first.

The survey, which was conducted by Galaxy Research for non-bank lender State Custodians Home Loans, asked 1,005 respondents who they thought would provide the best service when seeking out or re-negotiating a home mortgage or investment loan if they were faced with a life-changing event.

It found that most Australians (72 per cent) believe that in these circumstances a big bank is not their best option. Additionally, people’s preferences in obtaining property advice in the wake of a crisis differed depending on their current life stage.

While 25 per cent of respondents overall would go to a mortgage broker for advice in the wake of a financial crisis, for Generation X in the 35-49 age bracket, 34 per cent said that they would seek out a mortgage broker first, and 30 per cent of those aged 25-34 would do so.

Of the youngest adults aged 18-24, 22 per cent would turn to a mortgage broker, as would 19 per cent of those aged 50 and over.

Further breaking the results down, 35 per cent of respondents who work full-time said they would turn to a mortgage broker for advice when facing a financial crisis, 20 per cent of those working part-time, and 20 per cent not working. Thirty-five per cent of those who earn over $100,000 would turn to a mortgage broker.

Breaking the results down by state, Western Australian respondents were most inclined to head to a mortgage broker for advice (29 per cent), followed by Queensland and NSW (27 per cent), South Australia (24 per cent) and Victoria and Tasmania (21 per cent).

Meanwhile, 43 per cent of the 18-24 age bracket said that they would turn to a financial planner, accountant or lawyer first compared to 15 per cent of those aged 50 or over.

For those aged 25-34, 34 per cent would seek out a smaller lending institution. This category also had the highest preference for a non-bank lender (16 per cent).

Just over one-third of respondents (37 per cent) said that they believe they’d receive the best level of specialised attention from a smaller lending institution, such as a credit union or building society.

Twenty-eight per cent nominated a big bank, 22 per cent nominated an accountant, lawyer or financial planner, and 10 per cent said a non-bank lender.

The Galaxy survey also revealed that women (32 per cent) were more likely than men (25 per cent) to think that a big bank would provide them better service in times of great need.

Commenting on the findings, State Custodians general manager Joanna Pretty highlighted that Australians are currently facing increasing uncertainty on numerous fronts including a stagnant economy, job insecurity, high levels of relationship breakdowns and unhealthy lifestyles leading to chronic illness.

“When you’re in crisis mode it can be very stressful and confusing trying to make any major decision. I think trust is very important in dire situations and sometimes with larger institutions people can feel like they’re ‘just a number’,” she said. “So, any organisation or people who can give you the right information and reassure that they’ll look after you is important.”

“Smaller institutions tend to specialise with different products and services, and are very good at helping people who fall outside traditional parameters,” she added. “They can also have more of an open mind as to what kind of deal they’d be prepared to do with a customer, as they’re used to evaluating extenuating circumstances.”

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