Bank of QLD, also known as BOQ, is different from many banks as over half of their branches are basically franchises and owner-managed and are primarily based in Queensland.
BOQ has fast become one of Queensland’s most popular banks with really sharp interest rates and some good home lending products.
Today we review Bank of Queensland’s (BOQ) home loans and put them through their paces.
Note that this review, interest rates, and product information are correct as of 25 September 2023, and all of this information is subject to change without further notification. Any credit applications are subject to meeting the specific bank’s criteria, and the decision is at their final discretion.
Table of Contents
What are BOQ's Home Loans like?
The top 5 things BOQ are good at.
- Super High Customer Satisfaction: BOQ customers gave the bank high scores for service, friendliness and responsiveness, with an overall customer satisfaction score of 87.2% (the average Big 4 Bank Net Promoter Score was 78.50% in May 2018).
- Great Interest Rate Discounts if you are applying at the right time. Bank of QLD can give lots of really good interest rate discounts at different times of the year, including special variable rates on loans with higher deposit amounts like a 20% deposit.
- Special rates for professionals. If you’re a lawyer, doctor, dentist or sports professional, then BOQ can be right for you.
- A comprehensive suite of commercial loans and business products. When it started in Queensland, BOQ initially catered for smaller businesses, and now they have a really strong range of business accounts, commercial property loans and credit cards for businesses.
- Community members involved in the branches. A large part of Bank of QLD’s marketing strategy is supporting their local communities. The branches get involved in many community partnerships and fundraising activities provided they align with their business objectives and support their core beliefs.
- Complicated home loan applications involving trusts. The Bank of Queensland is surprisingly good at dealing with home loan applications involving companies and trusts. They will allow Hybrid Trusts as acceptable borrowers (many banks do not allow this type of entity) where the LVR is 80% or less.
Top 5 things BOQ aren't so good at.
- Interest Only Home Loans. Being a smaller bank with investor lending limitations imposed by APRA, BOQ cannot be highly competitive on interest-only home loan products. Compared to the larger banks, BOQ’s interest-only interest rates are slightly higher and less flexible.
- Strict credit criteria. They can be much tougher around the type of employment and how they verify your income. For example, if you are buying a home and are borrowing 85% of the property value, BOQ will require your payslip, and they will also ring your employer to verify you are working there.
- Slower Home Loan Approvals: BOQ offers really good interest rates throughout the year, which can cause a massive influx of home loan applications, and slows down their credit and processing teams. This has caused internal processing issues in the past, and it can take weeks for home loans in QLD to get approved.
- Properties that are unique: The bank has much more strict criteria around properties in mining towns, high-density apartments and units and other unique types of properties. For example, there are limitations in the maximum lending limits if you are buying an apartment in Brisbane (postcode 4000), Newstead (postcode 4007) or Teneriffe (postcode 4005) in Queensland.
- People with bad credit: Due to their credit policy, Bank of QLD cannot help people with bad credit. However, if the LVR is under 80% o, BOQ might consider a lower credit score on a case-by-case basis.
What are the different home loan products they offer?
Bank of Queensland offers a wide range of Home loan products, and the 4 most popular include:
1. Fixed Rate Home Loan
BOQ’s Fixed Rate Home Loan products help protect you against interest rate rises, giving you a fixed term of between 1 to 5 years where you can lock in your interest rate repayments and benefits include:
- Maximum loan term of 30 years
- No minimum loan amount
- Fix your rates for 2-5 years
- Borrow up to 95% of the property value, including Lenders Mortgage Insurance (on principal and interest lending)
- Interest-only payments available
- Repayments can be set at weekly, fortnightly or monthly intervals
- Additional repayments of up to $10,000 per year.
- Fixed Break costs could apply if you repay the loan early.
Economy Variable Home Loan, also known as a basic home loan.
A basic home loan is just that: a cheap and cheerful loan—but it has fairly limited features and very few fees. You can save money using a basic product like the Economy Variable home loan if you do not need any other fancy features like an offset account and discounts on credit cards.
The features of the Economy Variable Home Loan include:
- Available on owner-occupied and investment housing
- Redraw is available with a minimum of $100, and no redraw fees apply
- Split Loans available
- Interest only payments available
- 80% Maximum LVR
- Construction home loans aren’t available on this product
- Mortgage offset is not available
The downside to this product is that it is only available for new lending only, so if you are an existing BOQ customer, you cannot switch to this product.
Commercial Rate Loan
In Queensland, BOQ has a fairly strong Commercial Rate Loan offering. This is a fully secured investment product created for property developers and property investment for business acquisition purposes. They can use a residential property as security, in addition to commercial property, business assets and directors’ guarantees.
The features include:
- BOQ Commercial Rate Loan has variable, fixed and capitalised interest options
- Repayments can be 1, 2, and 3 months in arrears
- The application fee is 0.75% of the approved limit, and the minimum fee is $750.
- Monthly service fee is $50 per month
- You can fix your interest rates for up to 5 years.
This product is fairly popular with Property Developers and Investors in Queensland. The actual interest rate margin is priced on risk, but if Bank of QLD is interested in a particular asset or developer, it will price to compete against some of the biggest banks out there.
4. Clear Path Variable Home Loan
The Clear Path Variable Home Loan is cheap, has all the features and offers a low rate.
This is their most popular low rate home loan and includes the following features:
- Borrow up to 95% of the property’s value with Lenders Mortgage Insurance
- No application fee
- One free valuation
- Unlimited free redraw
- 100% mortgage offset account
- Weekly, Fortnight and Monthly repayments
- Also available for construction loans
- Available for all loan amounts
What are BOQ's Interest Rates?
Bank of Queensland’s home loan interest rates are fairly competitive compared to the big 4 banks. They can be hyper-competitive depending on the time of the year and, in recent times, have had market-leading interest rates.
Principal and Interest
Interest rate % p.a
Comparison rate % p.a
Economy Variable Home Loan – Max 70% LVR
Economy Variable Home Loan – Max 80% LVR
Clear Path Variable Home Loan – Max 80% LVR
Clear Path Variable Home Loan – Max 90% LVR
Fixed Rate Loan – 2 Years
Fixed Rate Loan – 2 Years Discounted
Fixed Rate Loan -3 Years
Fixed Rate Loan – 3 Years Discounted
Fixed Rate Loan – 4 Years
Fixed Rate Loan – 4 Years Discounted
Fixed Rate Loan – 5 Years
Fixed Rate Loan – 5 Years Discounted
Interest rates are from BOQ’s website as of Monday, 25 September 2023 and are subject to change at any time without any further notification.
Comparison rates are calculated based on a secured loan of $150,000 for a term of 25 years.
BOQ offers special interest rates to mortgage brokers in Brisbane from time to time. These are based on different criteria, including the loan to value ratio and type of property—with lower rates if you are buying or refinancing a home that you live in (often referred to as owner-occupied).
What documents does Bank of QLD need for a home loan?
Bank of QLD’s application checklist is fairly standard compared to most banks. Let’s say you are a salaried employee, and you are purchasing your first home; they would ask for the following:
- Signed Application Form and Privacy Act form completed by all borrowers
- Identification documents: Current Medicare + Drivers license or Australian passport
- 3 Months’ Bank statements showing your salary credits with the name of your employer
- 2 Most Recent Computer-Generated Payslips
- Evidence of your Genuine Savings, being statements to show the funds have been held for more than 3 months.
- Most recent statement showing all continuing liabilities – i.e. any open credit card, personal loan, or overdraft statements.
- Signed Contract of Sale
- Proof of deposit
BOQ have recently tightened their lending criteria and requires your payslips and bank statements to be no more than 45 days old at the time of application.
They are a bit different from some of the bigger lenders because they require more information if you are in casual employment, contract employment, or receive bonuses and commissions. You can download their application form here.
- If you are in casual employment, you need to be in the same role for at least 6 months. They will need your 2 most recent payslips AND most recent year’s PAYG Payment Summary (also known as a group certificate).
- If you are in contract employment, they need your 2 most recent payslips AND a copy of your employment contract with evidence of the remaining contract term.
- If you receive a bonus, regular commission or overtime, they will need your 2 most recent payslips AND evidence of at least 3 months minimum employment with the same employer with the most recent year’s PAYG Payment Summary (also known as a group certificate) AND confirmation from your employer that overtime is a condition of employment.
- If you are aged over 44 years old and will be over 69 years or older at the end of the loan term, BOQ will need details on how you will continue making loan repayments or be able to reduce your home loan upon retirement. There are strict criteria if your superannuation will form part of this. They will require additional evidence of your superannuation balances through a statement.
For most applicants, these aren’t extremely onerous conditions compared to some lenders, but if you are over 44 years old, there are a few more questions to answer, so we rated them 3.5 out of 5 in terms of documents required.
BOQ is also asking more questions with the changes to working hours caused by COVID-19. These include:
- At this point in time, are you aware of any changes to your broader situation that may impact your earning capacity?
- Have you been advised of any changes to your employment circumstances or income levels that will affect your ability to meet any existing debts or expenses?
Provided your income hasn’t been adversely affected, you should be fine. If you need more clarification, it’s best to speak with a mortgage broker to confirm you meet the bank’s criteria.
How much can I borrow from Bank of QLD?
Bank of Queensland’s credit criteria are subject to change at any time, and all lending is up to credit verification and satisfactory approval. But as an indication, we have run the following scenario through their borrowing calculator:
- A single person living in Brisbane (In the 4000 postcode)
- Earning $70,000 PAYG salary income
- Average monthly expenses of $2,000
- Has a credit card of $5,000 and no other debts
- Assuming this person has a 20% deposit as genuine savings
- Loan period of 30 years
- Interest rate of 5.99 %
In this scenario, the person can borrow up to $301,687
We ran the figures through our serviceability calculator and got the following results
As you can see from the results, BOQ is at the upper end of providing borrowing capacity compared to the list of other lenders and around $67,000 higher, with a borrowing capacity of up to $418,149
These figures are indicative and would be subject to meeting credit criteria, valuation and satisfactory verification of all supporting documentation. They are accurate as of 27 February 2023 and subject to change without further notification.
Would you like to know your borrowing capacity? Please chat with our home loan experts to see what you can afford.
What else does BOQ Offer?
BOQ is a fully licensed bank, similar to most of Australia’s big 4 banks like the Commonwealth, Westpac or even smaller credit unions like Gateway Bank.
The Bank of Queensland gives you access to home loans, transaction accounts, personal loans, savings accounts and insurance. Unlike their subsidiary BOQ Specialist, they have all sorts of customers.
How is owner-manager banking different from regular banking?
Practically speaking, an owner-manager branch is similar to a regular bank branch. You can go there and make deposits, withdraw cash and complete your regular banking (that is, assuming you need a branch).
The majority of our customers these days conduct 99% of their banking online, so a regular branch or owner-manager branch makes very little difference.
The disadvantage of Bank of Queensland is a lack of branches if you are located outside of Brisbane.
What are some BOQ Customer Reviews?
As we covered above, BOQ’s customer satisfaction ratings are some of the highest for an Australian bank, over 87%, compared to the major banks whose customers rate them 78.50%.
The reviews of Bank of QLD online can be fairly mixed.
Is BOQ an ethical Australian bank?
Believe it or not, there are actually environmentally friendly and ethical banks in Australia.
According to Market Forces, a bank is considered ethically responsible if it discontinues funding fossil fuels and uses best practices to sustain the environment.
Bank of Queensland was previously involved in unethical ventures and had invested directly in fossil fuels, including $16.4 million exposure to coal mining services as of 31 August 2020.
Fortunately, since then, BOQ has stopped directly funding fossil fuels and has committed to cease funding for equipment directly involved in the extraction of fossil fuels by 2024
They have even put together a sustainability page on their site detailing BOQ’s commitment to reducing their environmental impact.
So if working with an ethical bank is important to you, BOQ is definitely on its way to cleaning up its act – but probably not as good as some of the other Ethical Banks like Suncorp Bank, which has no exposure to fossil fuel companies.
How does BOQ compare to other banks?
Overall each Bank and Credit Union has its own advantages and disadvantages, which will come down to your personal situation.
For example, BOQ might be perfect for one person, but another bank may work better for the next person. So, how BOQ compares to other banks is ultimately determined by what you are looking for.
Bonus: Discontinued products BOQ
BOQ is NO LONGER offering the following products and services:
- Home Loan Privileges Package.
- Standard Variable Home Loan.
- Low Doc Loan.
- Smart Start (Discount Variable Home Loan).
- Queenslander Home Loan.
- Queenslander Advantage Home Loan Package.
- Clear Path Line of Credit.
- Personal Overdraft.
- Bridging Finance Loan.
- Interest prepaid loan
- Intro Rate Variable Home Loan
- 1 Year Fixed Rate Home Loan
If you are a BOQ customer of these products, then you can contact your local branch.