Gateway Credit Union, also known as GCU or Gateway Bank is different to most banks because it is customer-owned, meaning its profits get returned to you as a member rather than as profits to shareholders.
The benefit of this is sometimes better home loan interest rates and lower fees when compared to most banks because credit unions operate for the benefit of their members, not shareholders. This can also translate to better customer service as the members of a credit union are also the owners of that credit union!
But how do their home loans compare?
Today we review Gateway Bank’s (formally Gateway Credit Union) home loans and put them through their paces.
Table of Contents
What are Gateway Credit Union’s home loans like?
Top 5 things Gateway Credit Union are good at:
- Higher Customer Satisfaction: Gateway Credit Union Members gave the bank high scores for service, friendliness and responsiveness, with an overall member satisfaction score of 87% (the average Big 4 Bank Net Promoter Score was 78.50% in May 2018).
- Lower Interest Rates for large deposit Loans: Since Gateway Credit union is member-owned, they can offer lower interest rates for higher deposit loans, including special variable rates on loans with a 20% deposit from 4.39% (as at 8 November 2022).
- Award-winning Home Loan Products: They won Canstar’s Outstanding Value award for their Investor Variable Home Loan and Owner Occupied Variable Home Loan and Mozo’s Expert Choice award in 2017 for Australia’s best credit union.
- Guarantor Home Loans for First Home Buyers: Gateway calls this a Family Pledge home loan product. It allows you to borrow up to 105% of the property purchase price to cover settlement costs and stamp duty.
- Unique property types. Gateway can lend for properties like studio apartments, granny flats and small blocks of units. If you are buying a property with a granny flat, they will consider using the income from the granny flat provided you give 2 years’ tax returns and a current rental agreement.
Top 5 things Gateway Credit Union aren’t so good at:
- Tougher credit criteria: They can be much more strict about your type of employment and how they check your income. For example, Gateway will phone your employer and complete an employment check if you have less than a 20% deposit.
- Construction Loans: While Gateway can do construction loans, they aren’t the best due to their progress payment process and limitations in not accepting owner-builders.
- Smaller Size: Gateway currently has over 30,000 members, which is considerably less than other credit unions like CUA, which had 453,122 members at the end of 2017.
- Self-employed customers: If you are self-employed, Gateway isn’t as good as some of the other banks. They will need your last 2 years’ tax returns and ATO notices of assessment (compared to some banks, which only need 1 year).
- People with bad credit: although Gateway credit union do not use credit score, their Lenders mortgage insurance provider does, so you could get your loan declined if you have less than a 20% deposit.
What are the different home loan products they offer?
Gateway Credit Union has a wide range of Home Loan products, and the four most popular include:
1. Premium Package Home Loan
The Gateway Bank Premium Package Home Loan is similar to professional package home loans offered by many of Australia’s banks. In short, you get a discounted rate and other banking products packaged under one annual fee.
The annual package fee is slightly lower than the major banks being only $299 per year, and that includes benefits like:
- Free loan Variation
- Earning an extra 0.10% on your term deposit accounts
- 10% discount off CGU General Insurance
- 100% Loan Offset Account
- Higher discounts if you have a larger deposit (more than 20%)
2. Fixed Rate Home Loan
Gateway’s Fixed Rate Home Loan product helps protect you against interest rate rises, giving you a fixed term between 1 to 5 years, where you can lock in your interest rate repayments. It also has a rate lock feature, which secures your fixed rate for up to 90 days before you settle.
Their Fixed Rate Home Loan benefits include no annual fees or administration fees (aside from the package fee).
No offset account is available with this package, but you can make unlimited extra repayments.
3. Low Rate Essentials, also known as a Basic Home Loan
A basic home loan is just that: a loan with no frills and limited features – but also very few fees. You can save money using a basic home loan if you do not need features like an offset account and discounts on other banking products.
The benefits of the Low Rate Essentials loan are no annual fees or ongoing administration fees, and you have access to your account via internet banking.
You can also make fee-free unlimited extra repayments.
4. Family Pledge Home Loan, also known as a Guarantor Home Loan
This is a brilliant product for home buyers that don’t have a large deposit and have a family member that can assist with giving their equity in a property to bridge the deposit gap. The benefits include no LMI costs, no extra fees and costs with the standard guarantee and legal fees to apply.
The only drawback is that guarantors must be your immediate family, like parents, siblings or close relatives such as uncles and aunties. Gateway might be able to consider other guarantor relationships, but it depends on your individual situation, with the guarantee amount not being over 50% of your parent or guarantor’s property value.
5. Green Home Loan
If you are interested in reducing your environmental impact, then the Green Home Loan is for you. The Green Home Loan offers a discounted interest rate if you have taken steps to make your home more environmentally friendly, e.g. if your property has solar panels or you want to construct an eco-friendly house. In this case, you could get at least a 0.15% discount on the Premium Package Variable Rate (LVR up to 80%) Home Loan.
The Green Home loan also offers all the flexibility and benefits of the regular home loan.
What documents does Gateway Bank need for a home loan?
Gateway Bank’s Home loan application checklist is fairly standard compared to most banks. Assuming you are a salaried employee and you are purchasing your first home, they ask for the following:
- Signed Application Form + Membership 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, which are 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
Where they are a bit different from some of the bigger lenders is requiring more information if you are in casual employment, contract employment or receive bonuses and commission.
- If you are in casual employment, they will need your 2 most recent payslips AND your 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 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.
These aren’t extremely onerous conditions compared to some lenders, so we rate them 4 out of 5 in terms of documents required.
How much can I borrow from Gateway Bank?
Gateway Bank’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 yearly expenses of $15,808
- Has a credit card of $5,000 and no other debts
- An interest rate of 4.24%
- Assuming this person has a 20% deposit as genuine savings
- Figures as at 9 November 2022, subject to credit criteria and will change without notification.
We ran the figures through our serviceability calculator and got the following results:
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 9 November 2022 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 Gateway Credit Union offer?
Gateway is a fully licensed bank, and in addition to its home loan products, the bank offers day-to-day transaction accounts, personal and consumer loans, savings and insurance products.
How is customer-owned banking different to regular banking?
Member-owned credit unions operate quite differently from standard banks. As credit unions are owned by members, they don’t try to get every dollar they can out of you. They operate to help you – their owners and members are usually more customer-focused than shareholder-focused.
The disadvantage is that the major banks have much larger branch networks and systems which can sometimes give you better deals and definitely have more flexibility around tougher home loans.
How can you become a member of Gateway Credit Union?
Unlike other credit unions, like the Teachers Credit Union, where you need to be a teacher to become a member, Gateway Credit union allows anyone to become a member. All you need to do is get identified and pay a small fee for their share subscription.
What are some Gateway Credit Union customer reviews?
As we covered above, Gateway’s own members report some of the highest customer satisfaction scores, having rated them 87% compared to the major banks, whose customers rate them 78.50%.
With that being said, online, the reviews for Gateway can be mixed.
How does Gateway compare to other banks?
Overall each Bank and Credit Union has its own advantages and disadvantages, which will come down to your personal situation.
Ready to take the next step toward buying? We’re happy to help. Our team at Hunter Galloway is here to help you buy a home in Brisbane. Unlike other mortgage brokers who are just one-person operations, we have an entire team of experts dedicated to helping make your home loan journey as simple as possible.