The West

NAB sees strong mortgage market

WA's tougher economic climate has yet to make any major impact on an ultra-competitive mortgage market, says one of the nation's biggest lenders.

"Competition for mortgages has never been so intense, and that applies here as well as the other major cities," National Australia Bank's head of personal banking, Gavin Slater, said in Perth yesterday.

"From a mortgage perspective, it's pretty consistent with what we have seen nationally . . . house prices up 6 per cent to 8 per cent (and) strong demand for housing credit," Mr Slater said, citing low interest rates and comparatively weak unemployment.

"We are starting to see a little bit of a softening in Perth in terms of volumes but not dramatically."

NAB's WA retail boss, Sean FitzGerald, said local mortgage demand included a "fairly strong" increase in enquiries from investors.

NAB is the third-biggest player in mortgages, with a 15.4 per cent national share behind Commonwealth Bank and Westpac.

Mr Slater's responsibilities cover NAB's 780 branches, including 70 in WA. The State network is augmented today with another concept "smart" branch, this time in Fremantle.

The concept branch, or in the new banking lingo, "store", is heavy on technology and self service, reflecting the decline in branch transactions in favour of mobile banking.

"What hasn't changed is customers wanting to go into a store and have a conversation with staff," Mr Slater said.

The West Australian

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