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CUA Home Loan Review

You could say that CUA (previously known as Credit Union Australia) is the bank “for the people”, being a customer-owned financial institution in today’s big bank world.

CUA’s focus has always been operating for the benefit of its customers and generally speaking, they offer fairly good interest rates and lower fees.

…But how do they compare to some of the bigger banks like Suncorp or BOQ?

So let’s get started with my review on CUA Home Loans and see if the ‘customer service is king’ concept is still relevant when it comes to home loans.

Note this review, interest rates and product information are correct as at 24th January 2019 and all of this information is subject to change without any further notification. Any applications for credit are subject to meeting the specific bank’s criteria and the decision is at their final discretion.

cua home loans review


What are CUA Home Loans like?

The Top 5 things CUA is good at:

  • ✅ Competitive Interest Rates – CUA offers competitive interest rates, which makes it an attractive option compared to other banks and financial institutions.
  • ✅ You Gain Ownership – Since it is a member-owned financial institution, once you become a customer of CUA, you will actually become a part owner of this institution too. Now you can finally start that dinner conversation you’ve always dream of.
  • ✅ First Home Buyers and Investors – CUA is a fair option for first home buyers and investors because it offers lower fees compared to other financial institutions. So if you’re just starting out as a property mogul, CUA could help you get ahead.
  • ✅ 100 per cent offset account on fixed rates – Another great thing about CUA is that it offers a 100 per cent offset on its fixed rate loans, for amounts up to $50,000. Most lenders will only allow partial offset during a fixed rate period however with CUA you can make the most of fixed rates but still have the flexibility of an offset account with ATM, cheque and credit card access.
  • Higher Customer Satisfaction – CUA customers gave the bank high scores for customer service and trust with an overall customer satisfaction score of 82% (average Big 4 Bank Net Promoter Score was 78.50% in May 2018).

cua home loan review


The top 5 things CUA aren’t good at?

While CUA comes with a lot of good features, there are still certain things you have to look out for if you’re planning on getting a home loan from CUA:

  • Mobile App & Internet Banking – When compared to the majority of banks in Australia, CUA’s internet banking and mobile app leave a little to be desired. Opening new accounts online and through the app can be cumbersome, and not as streamlined as others.
  • ⛔ Lending Policies – Compared to other financial institutions and banks, CUA normally has stringent lending policies, which makes it difficult for people to qualify for a home loan, and difficult if you have bad credit. If you have a bad credit history, it could be difficult for you to get a home loan approval with CUA.
  • ⛔ Self-employed Individuals – Those who cannot provide proof of their income may find it hard to get a home loan approval due to lack of evidence. This includes borrowers such as self-employed individuals. So unless you can document and prove your income, then choosing CUA might be a headache for you.
  • ⛔ Restricted Access for Brokers – Another downside of CUA is that it doesn’t allow access to all mortgage brokers, which means that depending on the broker you’ve chosen to work with, CUA might not be on their books.
  • ⛔ Very Slow Processing – Compared to other lending institutions, CUA is a bit slow in processing, especially during busy periods. There are reports of pre-approvals taking up to 6 weeks to approve. So if you’re trying to rush your applications through, CUA may not be the best option for you.
cua bank

If you bank with CUA, you might need to go and visit the branch a little more often than when banking with the larger banks in Australia. Their app, and internet banking portals are not as advanced as some of the others on the market.


What are the different home loan products they offer?

CUA has a range of home loan products on offer with a mix of fixed and variable rate home loans that will suit most home buyers.

However, some of my top picks would be:

1. CUA Fresh Start Basic Variable

The CUA Fresh Start Basic Variable is a great option if you have a large deposit amount and don’t want to have any additional features with the loan. It is basically a no-frills, (fairly) low rate loan with no ongoing fees.

Compared to other CUA products, this is a good low-interest rate option for those who aren’t interested in an offset facility, and suitable for owner occupiers and investors. The interest rate is pretty poor when compared to some other banks on the market.

cua fresh start basic variable interest rate

  • No ongoing fees
  • A variable rate for more flexibility
  • Easy access to your cash with redraw facilities.
  • Slightly higher interest rates compared to big banks
  • $600 establishment fee for investors and $195 security fee


2. CUA Fresh Start Variable

The CUA Fresh Start Variable offers a competitive variable rate with 100% offset and redraw. This loan is great for owner occupiers and investors. This loan has a slightly higher interest rate compared to the basic variable loan, but it also has a 100 per cent offset account with the same benefits as the Basic.

cua fresh start home loan review

  • ✅ 100% offset account
  • ✅ No ongoing fees
  • ✅ Easy access to your cash
  • ✅ Variable rate for flexibility
  • ⛔ $195 security administration fee
  • ⛔ Slightly higher interest rates compared to big banks


3. Premium Fixed Rate

As the name suggests, the Premium Fixed Rate offers a fixed term of one, two, three, or five year period. It offers a competitive interest rate that is either below or on par with the major banks. This option is great for those who love the certainty of a fixed rate but still want to enjoy extras like interest offset and the flexibility to make extra repayments.

Premium Fixed Rate Home Loan CUA

Being able to offset funds against a fixed rate is quite unique. Most banks provide a split loan to work around this.

  • ✅ Multi-Account Offset up to $50,000 of the combined balance
  • ✅ No ongoing fees
  • ✅ Easy access to your cash
  • ✅ Variable rate for flexibility
  • ⛔ $600 establishment fee and $195 security administration fee
  • ⛔ Slightly higher interest rates compared to big banks


4. Equity Line of Credit

The Equity Line of Credit offers you an all-in-one variable rate loan with easy access to funds. This account provides you with borrowing, saving, investment and day to day banking all in one account.

Equity_Line_of_Credit_Home_Loan CUA

Not having a maximum term is also pretty unique and popular with older mortgage holders.

The Equity Line of Credit provides you with a secure line of credit along with the freedom to control your money. This loan option is good for those whose income changes regularly and don’t want to be locked in to set repayment amounts.

  • ✅ Interest charges are calculated daily
  • ✅ Choose your own repayment plan
  • ✅ No ongoing fees
  • ✅ Easy access to your funds
  • ✅ No maximum term
  • ✅ Variable rate
  • ⛔ Higher interest rate compared to other CUA products
  • ⛔ $600 establishment fee and $195 security administration fee


5. Achieve Variable

The Achieve Variable home loan package provides a neat little combination of low-interest rates along with extra features, however, it does come with some extra set up fees.

The catch?

It’s only available for new loans. With this loan option, you’ll gain access to a Multi-Account Offset up to $15,000 of the combined balances in your Everyday Accounts.

Achieve_Variable_Home_Loan___CUA (1)

  • ✅ Competitive interest rate
  • ✅ No ongoing fees
  • ✅ Offset your interest
  • ✅ Make extra repayments without any penalties
  • ✅ Free redraw
  • ✅ Variable rates
  • ⛔ $600 establishment fee and $195 security administration fee
  • ⛔ Available to new loans only
  • ⛔ Minimum loan size $100,000


What is CUA’s Interest Rates?

To compete with the big banks, often CUA are bringing out competitive mortgage rates that are lower than market average (win!).

However, if you’re an owner-occupier and are going for a Principle and Interest loan option then you can expect rates to be not too bad.

Owner Occupier Loans
Investment Home Loans
Interest Rates Last Updated 09/12/2019 18:01:54

If you’re a new customer or refinancing you’ll be able to get one of CUA home loan rates at pretty low interest rates.

There are lots of different home loan products in the market, including even cheaper interest rates available to some borrowers. You can see if you qualify by speaking with our team of mortgage brokers or calling us to chat on 1300 088 065.



What documents does CUA need for a home loan?

CUA’s application checklist is fairly standard compared to most banks and assuming you are a salaried employee and you are purchasing your first home they would ask for:

  • ☑️ Signed Application Form, Privacy Act form completed by all borrowers
  • ☑️ Identification documents: Current Medicare + Drivers license, or Australian passport
  • ☑️ 2 most recent consecutive payslips inclusive of YTD; (minimum of 3 months year to date (YTD) income & tax figures) and tax return or PAYG summary (other options stated on document too).
  • ☑️ ️3 Months statements showing all continuing liabilities – i.e. any open credit card, personal loan, store card or overdraft statements
  • Savings pattern (Applicable when LVR > 90%) – Established over 3 month period with regular deposits or from shares, real estate or other
  • ☑️ 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
  • ☑️ Signed Contract of Sale
  • ☑️ All Personal Loan and Credit Card refinancing and/or debt consolidation – 1 month statements (<30 days old)

cua home loan application

Plus for Casual, Fixed Term Contract or Temporary

  • ☑️ 2 most recent consecutive payslips inclusive of YTD; AND
  • ☑️ Current employment contract or letter from current employment agency confirming position and salary/wages
  • ☑️ The most recent financial year tax return,

Plus for Sole traders, company and trusts

  • ☑️ Last Full financial (1) year(for Non-Mortgage Insured applications)
  • ☑️ Company / Trust Financial Statements (i.e. Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet)
  • ☑️ Personal tax returns and ATO Notice of Assessments for each applicant / entity
  • ☑️ If applicable all associated Partnership, Company or Trusts Tax Returns for the same period (e.g. likely to be in situations where there is more than 1 entity etc.)
  • ☑️ Evidence of irregular payments / and or deductions may result in a request for further information.


How much can I borrow from CUA?

  • ✅ A single person living in Brisbane (In the 4000 postcode)
  • ✅ Earning $70,000 PAYG salary income
  • ✅ Average monthly expenses of benchmark $1,560 but only being used as an example, for illustrative purposes.
  • ✅ Has no credit card or other debts
  • ✅ Assuming this person has a 20% deposit as genuine savings
  • Figures as at 24 January 2019, subject to credit criteria and will change without notification.

We run the figures through CUA’s calculator and got the following results:

CUA Home Loans Calculator

The calculator is as at January 2019, this can change at any time and subject to individual bank credit criteria and further conditions.

As you can see from the results, CUA is at the lower end of providing borrowing capacity when compared to the list of other lenders and around $45,000 higher with a borrowing capacity of up to $473,045.

These figures are indicative and would be subject to meeting credit criteria, valuation and satisfactory verification of all supporting documentation. They are accurate as at 26 November 2018 and subject to change without any further notification.

Would you like to know your borrowing capacity? Chat with our home loan experts to see what you can afford.



What else does CUA offer?

CUA is based in our home state, Queensland so we can’t help but feel some kind of extra emotion towards these Sunshine State investors. It has a variety of home loan options however unlike some competitors it doesn’t have the ability to let customers set up their home loan online.

So if you’re thinking about setting up a home loan with CUA, not through a mortgage broker, you’ll need to kick it old school and either head down to a branch or make a phone call.

cua branch brisbane

They also offer travel insurance, health insurance, personal loans and credit cards, so it could easily be your one-stop shop. They have around 50 branches across Australia and provide online banking too… but from what we’ve read their online banking isn’t too crash hot.


What are some CUA Customer Reviews?

As we covered above, CUA’s customer satisfaction ratings are some of the highest for an Australian bank over 82% compared to the major banks whose customer rate them 78.50%. Customers were happy with customer service and have high levels of trust in CUA, followed by being satisfied with their prices.

cua home loan review

The reviews of CUA online aren’t too bad.


Who is CUA best for?

Okay so I’ll be honest, CUA is not the right choice for everyone. BUT it is a great choice for those who have a large deposit as CUA is less likely to change the interest rate after approving your home loan application.

Also their internet banking is fairly basic compared to some of the other large banks who have fairly sophisticated online platforms… If you also use Budgeting App PocketBook you will also find CUA aren’t available…

So if you don’t mind having to go to the local branch every now and again…they aren’t too bad.

cua home loans

Other Things to Consider

Something to be aware of is that not many brokers actually have access to CUA.

Therefore, before applying through a broker, it is better to ask if they are accredited with the credit union. The most important thing to consider is that you should compare CUA home loan rates and packages with the packages offered by other lenders, keeping in mind the customer type (you), loan size, and your deposit amount.


How does CUA compare to other banks?

Overall each Bank, and Credit Union has its own advantages and disadvantages which will come down to your personal situation.

So does CUA sound like it’s for you?

Talk to one of our mortgage brokers calling us on 1300 088 065 or complete our free assessment to find out more details and see if Bank of Queensland is a good fit for you.

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The Hunter Galloway Mortgage Broker Brisbane team is here to help. We have a team of home loan experts.



Interest rates supplied from CUA’s website.

1 Achieve Variable is available to new to CUA home loans only. Minimum loan amount $100,000. Not available for switching or restructuring of existing CUA home loans or to applicants for another CUA home loan fully approved prior to 7/11/2018. Maximum LVR limits apply based on standard security types. Published interest rates and discounts available and applicable to home loans submitted on or after 7/11/2018. Interest rates and discounts may vary by loan purpose (owner occupied and investment) and by repayment type (principal and interest, interest only and construction loans). The discounts specified in your loan contract will not change for the life of the loan provided you do not vary your loan contract. If you vary your loan (for example, changing the loan purpose or repayment type), the rates and discounts may change.

2 Available to new loans of $100,000 or more. Maximum LVR limits apply based on standard security types. New loans only. Offers not available for switching of existing CUA home loans or to applicants for another CUA home loan fully approved prior to 04/07/2018. Rates vary by repayment type (principal and interest vs interest only) and construction loans.

3 Principal and interest (P&I) repayments only. Not available for construction purposes.

4 Payments are made on an interest only basis for first 12 months. After 12 months loan will revert to the relevant Achieve Variable P&I repayments rate reflecting the discount specified in your loan contract. Comparison rate based on a 12 month interest only period and P&I for balance of the term.

Ready to take the next step toward buying? We’re happy to help. Schedule a call today with a Home Loan Expert from Hunter Galloway, the home of home buyers.

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