Switching bank saves family thousands

Switching over to a customer-owned bank has paid huge dividends for James and Tracy Heck

Paul Trotter

Paul Trotter switched to a customer-owned bank

Switching over to Heritage Bank has paid huge dividends for Hatton Vale couple James and Tracy Heck – they’re now $900 a month better off in loan repayments, and their two kids will spend this summer splashing around in a new pool.

James had been with one of Australia’s big four banks for 22 years after signing up as a child.

He’d had two home loans with the bank, but even after renegotiating the loan on a new house at Hatton Vale in the Locker Valley, he still had nagging doubts about whether or not he was getting the best deal possible.

“Even though we were paying less than we had been, I still wasn’t happy.  We were speaking with friends about how much they were paying for their loans, and I kept hearing from people who seemed to have a much better deal than us,” he said

“I called a meeting with my bank, but they just told us that the deal we were on was pretty much the best we would be able to get.”

Luckily, James and Tracy knew Caleb Prescott, the manager at Heritage’s Forest Lake Branch.

Reluctant at first to mix business with friendship, James eventually organised a meeting with Caleb to talk about his home loan.

“Straight away Caleb could see the holes in what the big bank had done. He kept coming back to me with better and better figures on what we could save.

“It got to the stage where I asked whether we could condense all my lending into one more manageable payment, and the numbers kept getting better and better still.”

It was about that stage that James started thinking about installing a pool for his kids – 4-year-old Michaela and 20-month-old Charlie. James works as a pool supplies and service technician, so he sees the fun a pool can bring at first hand every day.

“They are water babies. They absolutely love the water.  I thought it would be years before we could afford a pool, but Caleb kept coming back with such great numbers that it added up.

“The difference I noticed in dealing with Caleb and Heritage was that I was telling them what I wanted to achieve, in regards to a pool and our lifestyle, while the big bank was telling me what I could do.

“We have ended up $900 a month better off, and that’s with the cost of the pool attached to the home loan, and tidying up my finances and consolidating into one payment.

“If I was with the big bank I would still be scratching my head at how much they are charging us and scratching my head at how I would be able to afford a pool for my kids.

“My wife still doesn’t quite believe we are getting a pool – she will believe it when she sees it in the ground.”

James said the process had made clear the financial benefits of dealing with a customer-owned bank like Heritage, rather than one of the big four.

“A lot of my friends are with the big four banks because when you are young that’s what you do. You’re under the assumption that the bigger the business, the better the buying power, the more discount is passed on to you, and the little guy can’t match it.  But when it comes to home loans, it’s actually the opposite.

“We’ve been telling a lot of our friends about our experience – and once they find out our deal, they start thinking of switching as well.”

To learn more about how you might be able to save thousands off your mortgage, view Heritage Bank's flexible and competitive home loan range or talk to a loaning specialist on 1300 493 297 (8am - 7pm, Monday to Friday).

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