| SYDNEY, March 17
SYDNEY, March 17 ING Groep NV's
Australian arm expects to increase lending to housing investors
this year, allowing it to gain market share as rivals pull back
for fear of breaching regulatory caps, Chief Executive Uday
ING is Australia's fifth-largest retail bank in household
savings balances and mortgages and is looking to advance on its
"Big Four" rivals through investor loans and new products like
insurance, credit cards and personal loans.
Its past focus on owner-occupier mortgages means it can
increase its investor book while rivals including Commonwealth
Bank of Australia (CBA) are restricted from doing so as
they risk breaching rules limiting growth in investor loans to
"I don't think we'll be contracting (this year)," Sareen
said of ING's investor loan book in an interview with Reuters.
"Our investor share is below 2 percent. If you have that
kind of market share and some of our larger competitors
considerably slow down there is still volume coming through."
The Reserve Bank of Australia on Monday indicated that
regulators could impose further restrictions on investor lending
if needed to head off risks in the housing market, where home
prices in Sydney and Melbourne have reached record highs.
The value of ING's housing loans to investors fell by 6.7
percent in 2016 as it focused on increasing market share in
owner-occupier loans, according to statistics from the
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
However, ING's investor loans rebounded by 0.5 percent in
January relative to December as Australia's biggest lender, CBA,
began to turn away investors looking to refinance loans and
raised rates on interest-only investor loans.
Deutsche Bank analysts on Wednesday said regional lender
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd also appeared close to
breaching the 10 percent investor loan cap, but other major
banks still had room to lend.
(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Stephen Coates)