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Ben Kingsley Blog post by Ben Kingsley

Mortgage Prison Update! Find out how you may be able to escape the trap.

Are you trapped in a mortgage prison, unable to refinance due to high serviceability assessment rates? We have an important market update that could change everything!

Join Ben as he reveals the game-changing exemption policy released by one of the major banks. In this short video, you’ll learn how this policy may be able to help you break free from the shackles of mortgage prison and secure cheaper deals, especially in these challenging times of rising living costs. If you or someone you know has been affected by serviceability challenges, this update is a must-watch.

Find out all the details and take action by reaching out to your mortgage broker. If you don’t have one or are looking for an investment-savvy mortgage broker, we’d love to help! Learn more about our multi-award winning Finance Team here:

What is a Mortgage Prisoner?

A mortgage prisoner is someone who lacks the serviceability requirements and/or equity to refinance away from their current home loan lender to a better mortgage deal. This results in them being forced to accept the interest rate pricing of their existing lender.

Recently, our Empower Wealth Mortgage Advisory team, were notified by a Major Bank that it is dropping its incoming servicing buffer/rate (the rate they assess your borrowing capacity) significantly for assist with getting out of Mortgage Prison and refinancing to them.

Now our job at Empower Wealth is to shop the market for the best deals for our clients, and this particular lender also has a cashback offer, making the deal even more attractive. But wait, there’s more. Over the next few days, we expect competition in this refinance space to heat up even further, giving our team even more options for our new customers to consider.

Is there any catch?

Technically, switching lenders have some administrative and transfer fees, so the lending deal needs to stack up to make sufficient savings on top of these modest refinancing costs, but there is no professional fees to pay when you use a Mortgage Broker.

And in terms of the qualifying criteria, these are always important to know and understand. Below is an outline summary of what this particular lender is looking for, but we can also expect new lenders who announce their offers will be looking at similar eligibility criteria:

  • The new mortgage monthly repayment (unbuffered) must be less than or equal to the current minimum monthly contracted repayment on the loan being refinanced
  • Applicant Credit Score (s): CCR score must be ≥ 650 for all applicants
  • No arrears or hardship reported in the last 12 months
  • All open liabilities on CCR must not have any numeric values other than ‘0’ reported (‘P’s and ‘Rs’ are acceptable) in the last 12 months
  • Consumer mortgages being refinanced must be opened for at least 12 months, with between 10 to 12 0’s reported
  • Other commitments (i.e credit cards & personal loans) and consumers mortgages not being refinanced, must have between 3 to 12 0’s reported in the in the last 12 months
  • New loan may have cash out to a maximum amount of $50k, i.e. new loan limit must not be more than $50k higher than the limit of the loan(s) being refinanced
  • New loan must be P&I repayments
  • Borrower declares no foreseeable material or adverse changes to their ability to repay the loan.

Is there any restrictions?

In short yes, and these are going to be the main ones:

  • Interest Only repayments
  • Applications that include a guarantor(s)
  • Consolidation of unsecured debts or secured debt reduction
  • Refinancing of portfolio loans or other secured line of credit
  • A change of borrowers or change of ownership
  • Applications that include mortgage insurance


Hello. Ben Kingsley here with an important update in terms of what’s happening in the mortgage market. Earlier this week, one of the major banks released an exemption policy relating to being trapped in mortgage prison. Now, mortgage prison is an event where you can’t refinance away from your existing lender because of the serviceability assessment rates are too high.

There’s been a significant development in that area, and that’s why we’re releasing this important market update for you.

If you have or, you know, somebody who has been challenged around refinancing to another lender because of serviceability challenges, it really is an important time to be reaching out to your mortgage broker and asking that question or sharing this information to a friend of yours who may be affected by it. There’s more details in the email that this video is attached to.

And I would encourage you again, if you’ve tried to refinance recently, but you haven’t been able to. This is for you. If you have recently refinanced, there’s going to be no chance that this exemption policy will work for you. And there is obviously going to be some further development in this space because we are going to see some of the other banks, I suspect, match one of the big four banks move in this particular area.

It’s good news for consumers because it obviously means that you will now be able to see more people refinancing to more cheaper deals, especially in these difficult times where the cost of living is going up. So thank you for watching the video. Hopefully you’ll learn more about it in the accompanying email that I’ve sent out with this and hopefully you can take action or you can help someone else who may be in this situation to reach out to one of our brokers.

Thanks very much for watching.

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