16 January 2015 – Expansión
NEW PLAYER / The bank led by Josep Oliu breaks into the mortgage market with a fixed rate loan, as it seeks to revitalise these kinds of operation, which currently have little prevalence.
The war for new mortgages, unleashed on the domestic market in recent weeks, has a new player: Banco Sabadell has decided to enter the fray to increase its market share of new business. And, in addition to offering a competitive variable rate product, it is also inviting customers to take out mortgages with rates that are fixed over the life of the loan, under terms clearly undercut those currently offered by other banks.
The entity led by Josep Oliu finally approved the launch of a fixed rate mortgage product a few days ago; the rate varies depending on the term of the loan. It begins at 3.5% for loans with a 15-year repayment period and increases up to 3.95% for 30-year operations. In between, a rate of 3.7% will apply for 20-year loans and 3.9% for 25-year terms. An arrangement fee of 1% will apply to all loans and their approval will require borrowers to register their payroll and take out a life insurance policy with the entity.
These conditions compare favourably to those offered by other entities, such as Bankinter (4.94% over 15 years), Caixabank (between 5.5% and 6.95% for operations over 25 years) and Kutxabank (3.98% over 20 years). The arrangement fees vary in each case, but all of the entities require borrowers to register their payroll and take out insurance.
The supply of fixed rate mortgages is currently very limited because entities consider that the interest rate risk that they face over the medium-long term is excessive.
But Management at Sabadell believe that low interest rates are going to be with us for some time to come and that in any case, it does not seem that inflationary pressures are going to lead to an excessive increase in the price of money any time soon. As a result, they believe that they can offer fixed rates for the time being, provided those rates reflect the terms of the loans. Such products may be attractive for those wishing to purchase a home since they guarantee the mortgage repayment amount for the whole life of the loan.
Sabadell is not going to market this type of mortgage exclusively; it wants to enter the wider battle for new mortgages (both fixed- and variable-rate) and intends to engage the tennis player Rafa Nadal, with whom the entity has a marketing contract, as a lure to get closer to its customers. This will be the first campaign in which Nadal participates after signing a contract with the entity last year.
The bank has not set a specific target for its fixed-rate mortgages, but it has fixed an internal goal for the signing of new operations: it wants to achieve growth of 40% on its 2014 figures. In absolute terms, that may not represent a very significant number (the bank has not published its results from last year yet) given that the starting point is relatively low. But it is important qualitatively, since it implies that the bank believes that mortgages are making a come back.
Original story: Expansión (by Salvador Arancibia)
Translation: Carmel Drake