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New Player Drops Rates And Boosts Competition

One of New Zealand’s newest home lenders has launched a second loan offering under 8% to target borrowers with traditional bank lenders.

Wizard Financial Services this week introduced its ‘switchover’ Essentials loan, a re-financing product that allows consumers with existing mortgages to change to Wizard at a floating rate of 7.99% with no application or administration fees.

A similar product, launched recently in Australia, has proved a huge success with consumers across the Tasman. Figures from the independent rating agency Cannex showed that Australian borrowers could save more than $A16,000 over the life of their loan by switching to Wizard from the major bank lenders.

Wizard Executive Chairman Mark Bouris said the Essentials loan offered New Zealand consumers similar savings. “We’re offering a floating rate around half-a-percent below the average bank rates, and the chance to switch easily at low cost.”

The ‘switchover’ product follows the launch of Wizard’s ‘rate breaker’ product ten days ago which offered new borrowers the country’s lowest floating rate of 7.79%.

Mr Bouris said that Wizard had been in the New Zealand market now for several months assessing opportunities for new products and services, and these new products marked the start of its serious assault on the traditional lending market.

“We’re introducing new products and services targeted at specific groups of borrowers in a market crying out for some real choice.”

Wizard opened its first branch in New Zealand in West Auckland in August. Since then branches have opened in East Auckland and South Auckland, and one is soon to open on Auckland’s North Shore. Branches in Wellington and Christchurch are being finalised. Wizard’s Internet services are now available in New Zealand at

Wizard was voted Australia’s best non-bank financial institution in the Australian Banking and Finance News Magazine awards this year. Although new to the New Zealand market, Wizard is Australia’s second largest non-bank financial services provider. ewizard, its on-line business, is one of Australia’s biggest on-line financial services providers.

Wizard began operations in Australia with one branch at the beginning of 1998 and today has more than 74 branches in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, providing services through an integrated branch and internet approach.

Mr Bouris said that Wizard’s new products were in response to customer demand in New Zealand for real choice in a market dominated by the major banks.

“The non-bank sector is relatively un-developed and we see real opportunity to give New Zealanders a solid alternative to the major banks which cost borrowers a lot of money.”

Mr Bouris said that Wizard would campaign in New Zealand, as it did in Australia, for greater transparency and honesty in the advertising of the true cost of loans.

“We think it’s time consumers were able to make true and easy comparisons about what they will pay when chosing financial services.”

He said that recent surveys reflecting customer disatisfaction with banks, and high profit margins in New Zealand underscored the need for greater choice and the opportunity for the non-bank sector.

“Consumers are crying out for better service and some real choice in financial services,” he said.

Mr Bouris said that the non-bank sector had become a driving force in lowering interest rates and charges in the US and Australia. Mortgage originators, like Wizard, were not mortgage brokers, but created and distributed their own products.

He said that Wizard was proving that an extensive branch network could drive business, rather than being a cost burden.

“Bank cost structures act against branches,” he said. “Bank customers are paying for those high costs and overheads. It’s not surprising that switching to someone like Wizard saves you money.”

For further information: Jill Emberson
Public Releations Manager
Wizard Financial Services
Tel: 0061 2 9226 9784 or 0483 66 55 42

Paul Hewlett
Tel: 09 376 6163

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