COVID-19 Impact on Bluestone's Operations

This page contains up-to-date information on COVID-19's impact on Bluestone's operations, as well as updates on latest product, policy and process changes.

To our valued advisers,

As we work through this challenging time, we want to keep you informed on the steps that Bluestone is taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming weeks, you can expect regular email updates from us as the situation develops.

We will also collate a list of the ongoing impact on the business and all current changes to our processes on this page.

For all of us, this is a period of uncertainty, but you can be confident that our dedication to you remains unchanged. We will continue to communicate clearly and transparently to ensure you remain updated.

Sincerely,

2020-03-19

Peter Wood
Managing Director, New Zealand

CUSTOMER HARDSHIP

We understand the current situation may make it difficult for some customers to meet their home loan repayments. Bluestone has a long history of supporting customers experiencing financial hardship and we have a range of options to support customers impacted by COVID-19. Customers who are impacted can find up-to-date information on hardship options and processes at https://www.bluestone.net.nz/covid-19/.

CURRENT IMPACT ON OPERATIONS AND PROCESSES

Rate and Policy Changes

The recent RBNZ’s out-of-cycle rate cut was in response to the major disruptions to global economic activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those same disruptions have heightened credit risk and caused extreme volatility in credit markets, which in turn has increased the cost of funding for lenders like Bluestone. We expect this extreme volatility will persist for some time.

Effective for all loan applications submitted from Monday 23 March, we made the tough decision to raise some of our interest rates for new borrowers, as well as make changes to our investment and fixed rate loadings. You can find out our new rates in our Variable and Fixed rate sheets.

Pre-Settlement Income Verification

Before settlement, we will now require PAYE customers to provide us with a recent payslip to ensure they retain the ability to service their loan. We will contact you when this is required, and it will become a pre-settlement condition on all PAYE loans going forward. For self-employed customers, we will need a copy of the most recent business bank statement.

Changes to Acceptable Industries

We have temporarily suspended lending to customers working in the following industries that have been highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic - tourism, hospitality, entertainment, and retail (not limited to these industries).

Suspension of Some Income Types

We have temporarily suspended the use of different income types in our serviceability calculators, including income derived from shares and dividends, holiday rentals, short term accommodation, overtime, commissions and bonuses.

Access for registered valuations

Due to the Level 4 lockdown, valuers are classed as a non-essential requirement. We expect that it will be difficult for customers to get a registered valuation over the next 4 weeks. We are working closely with Valocity to see if there may be an alternative solution.

In-Person Events and Sales Meetings Suspended

Until further notice, our BDMs will be working from home. Even though our sales team won’t be able to meet face-to-face, they stand ready to assist you with your home loan needs - call, text, or email. You’re also welcome to arrange a video call.

WORKING WITH BLUESTONE DURING THIS TIME

It is now critical for you to submit fully-packaged loan applications that include all supporting documentation. We will not be able to process incomplete applications.

How to fully package your deal

To ensure you receive the fastest approval possible, here is an overview of what we require from you:

  • Signed Loan Application form (electronically completed) and declarations form
  • Complete Diary notes
  • ID for all applicants
  • Income verification documents, e.g. two most recent payslips for PAYE applicants
  • Contract of sale for purchases
  • Mortgage/rental repayment history
  • 6 months’ loan statements for refinances

Please keep in mind that requirements vary between different home loan products, so please refer to our Loan Application Checklist or reach out to your Business Development Manager for the applicable list.

Enquiries and Support

We are currently receiving a higher than usual volume of enquiries from customers, and as a result wait times on our phone lines have increased. We ask our advisers to direct all enquiries to their BDMs in the first instance, who will be able to assist.

Helpful Links

Unite against COVID-19 - A central resource by the New Zealand government with up-to-date information for individuals and businesses, as well as tips for slowing the spread.

Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19) - A collection of frequently asked questions about the virus and its impact, answered by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Novel coronavirus explainer video - A clear and detailed explanation of the virus by the WHO, covering origins to symptoms and prevention.