Low Doc Loans are available to borrowers who are not able to provide financial documentation to support their income.
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9 Things You Need to Know About Australian Low Doc Loans
About the Author: Tristan Dunston is an independent public relations consultant specialising in finance and privacy matters. He loves whitewater kayaking and photography.
1. Low Doc Loans stands for low documentation loans. These are typically used to purchase property and to be accepted for this type of loan a consumer does not need the same level of documentary proof as required for standard bank loans. Most banks require verification of income, assets and liabilities, and want to see pay slips and tax returns, before they will give the go ahead on a home loan.
2. The low doc loan market accounts for around 5 per cent of Australian home loans and has grown up to service the needs of self employed workers. It also helps people who don’t lodge full tax returns, and people who find it hard to provide proof of earnings to get a home loan. This form of credit approval is known as self verification. Consumers on low incomes and those with poor credit ratings also use low doc loans to purchase homes.
3. This type of loan is characterised by higher interest rates, as lenders charge for the increased risk that comes with not checking pay slips and tax returns. The level of risk lenders take in not checking documents is illustrated by the default rates on low doc loans, which are about 3 times higher than mainstream loans.
4. Other features of low doc loans can include a requirement for extra security, such as a car or other asset, as well as the need to provide a larger deposit towards the cost of a property. Typically low doc customers have to take out mortgage insurance, which often protects the lender rather than the consumer. Fees and charges on this type of credit product are normally higher as well.
5. In the past, low doc loans were provided by non bank lenders, but in recent years the market has become increasingly competitive and mainstream lenders and banks also compete for low doc custom. Long gone are the days when a bank would tell a customer to go away and get a bigger deposit.
6. Predatory lenders have given low doc loans a bad name. Rogue lenders and brokers prey on hard pressed home owners, typically with the intention of enriching themselves at the expense of their victim by setting up unaffordable loans and charging excessive fees.
7. Australian Tax Office officials swooped on a large number of low doc loan customers after they conducted an inquiry into tax evasion. They found that about half of a study sample of 350 people with low doc loans, across 8 different lenders had not lodged tax returns. On average these people were three years outstanding with their returns. Tax office officials took action against this group, making them lodge tax accounts, with 8 finding themselves convicted for tax offences.
8. The future of low doc loans has been thrown into question by plans to reform the way brokers operate. The Australian government’s draft National Finance Broking Bill has put forward plans to make brokers responsible for ensuring consumers have the means to repay their debts. Critics of the draft bill believe this could kill off low doc and no doc loans, as it would be very hard for brokers to meet their requirements if the bill became law.
9. Commentators have predicted Australian home owners with low doc loans could suffer higher repayments as a result of the credit crunch. The credit crunch has left consumers with a poor credit rating vulnerable to higher credit costs.
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The review "Checkmyfile.com.au – Australian Low Doc Loans" was last updated on 04/05/2015.