ANZ sees "business opportunity" in loans to Aboriginal people

Date Published : Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ANZ sees The Australian and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) has released plans to enhance its indigenous home lending operations.

In its report called Home ownership and indigenous Australians, the bank declared that a focus on indigenous home ownership offered a "potential business opportunity in an under-served market".

The report found that in Australia indigenous home ownership levels are low with only 36 per cent of Aboriginals owning their own property.

Although this is up from 32 per cent in 1996, the bank claimed - citing the Australian Bureau of Statistics - that these ratios are significantly below the indigenous home ownership levels in the US, Canada and New Zealand of 59 per cent, 41 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.

The bank said that a large number of native Australians in urban and regional environments meet lending criteria but may not think about a mortgage due to "preconceptions of not receiving approval for a loan, or fear of not being welcome or understood".

Lenders may also inadvertently discourage potential indigenous by applying standard customer and credit processes "that are unsuited or not tailored to personal circumstances", the report found.

To combat this exclusion, the Melbourne-based bank claimed it will focus its efforts on behavioural change to address indigenous financial and home ownership rates, which will include developing a closer understanding of their needs.

In August, billionaire James Packer agreed to employ 500 Aborigines to help achieve the national goal set by Andrew Forrest, Australia's richest man, of getting 50,000 indigenous people into work over the next two years.

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