National Seniors Australia has welcomed the Commonwealth Bank’s announcement earlier this week that it is removing monthly account fees for thousands of seniors who unlock the equity in their home after retirement.
Commonwealth Bank customers who have the Equity Unlock for Seniors (EQFS) loan will have their monthly account fee of $12 removed, effective immediately.
The EQFS product, commonly known as a reverse mortgage, allows seniors who are 65 and over to access the equity in their home to supplement their income, without limiting their lifestyle or selling their home. Commonwealth Bank has more than 12,000 seniors who are currently accessing the product.
Commonwealth Bank’s Executive General Manager of Home Buying, Dan Huggins, said analysis of customer feedback showed that concerns regarding the account fee were raised more often than many other home lending products.
The bank was removing the fee to make the accounts more affordable for seniors.
“We know that seniors using this product often find the fees difficult, which is why we’ve listened and taken action,” Mr Huggins said.
“Many of these customers are seniors enjoying their well-earned retirement, and we believe that removing extra costs like this from their budgets will be warmly welcomed.”
National Seniors Chief Executive Dagmar Parsons said many seniors wanted to remain in the homes and communities where they’d raised their families, and reverse mortgages were one way they could access the equity in their house to help fund their retirement lifestyle and aged care support services without selling up and moving.
“We know many older people are reluctant to leave the homes they’ve lived in for years and sometimes decades,” Ms Parsons said. “We support moves like this one that will assist them to stay in familiar surrounds in comfort, rather than being asset-rich and cash poor.
“We encourage other providers with similar fees to get rid of them, too.”
Commonwealth Bank customers will be directly informed of the changes to their fees via their next statement.