A new government regulation to make it easier for people to save and invest in personal loans has triggered anger among some families with the same financial situation.
Personal loan rules have been introduced by the Australian government under a “loan guarantee” scheme, where banks can provide guarantees on a borrower’s income if it is higher than 30% of their household income.
The new rules also require personal lenders to offer mortgages to people with a repayment limit of no more than 30 months, and require them to offer a loan-to-value ratio of at least 50%.
The government says the new rules will ensure that Australians have the confidence to choose personal loans that are affordable and suitable for their individual circumstances.
“Personal loan customers can expect to pay lower interest rates and lower costs compared to a traditional personal loan because of these changes,” the Financial Markets and Consumer Protection Council said in a statement.
“Under the new regulations, customers will be able to select a loan with a lower loan-by-value than the typical 30-month loan they currently have.”
The change has already caused some hardship for families in Australia, where mortgage repayments and interest rates are low.
A recent report by Australian Institute of Family Studies found that nearly a third of people with high income have a monthly payment of less than $250.
The AIFS also found that people with low incomes are more likely to be under-banked and over-burdened by their debts.
“The government has a responsibility to ensure that low-income households are not left behind by the recovery in the economy, which is crucial for their financial well-being,” said AIFs chief executive Tim McAllister.
The rules come after a report by the Australia Institute found that a majority of Australians were under-borrowed, with an average monthly balance of $500.
The Australian Financial Review has previously reported that nearly half of Australians have a debt that is “substantially greater than their income”.
“It is essential that we ensure that everyone has access to a mortgage, as they make up the bulk of the Australian population, and that we continue to help those who are in a position to make payments,” Treasurer Scott Morrison said in his speech on Tuesday.
“In order to achieve this we need to improve the affordability of personal loans and ensure that people have access to credit.”