Dunedin woman hides pregnancy to get mortgage approved

A mother describes her "horrible" experience prior to changes to CCCFA

Dunedin woman hides pregnancy to get mortgage approved

A Dunedin woman said she had been advised by her mortgage broker to hide her pregnancy during a meeting with a bank last year. This happened prior to recent amendments to the Credits Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCFA), but the woman, who refused to be named, believed the bank had been preparing for the changes.

Earlier this week, another Dunedin woman said she was told by a bank that her mortgage would only be approved if she returned to work within 90 days of giving birth. She was just one of the many Kiwis who faced challenges in securing a mortgages under changes to the CCCFA.

The new rules see lenders requiring detailed breakdowns of applicants’ spending habits and diving into their personal lives before approving mortgages.

Now, a mother has come forward to describe what her experience was like before the new rules came into effect last month. In mid-2021, the woman, who was pregnant at the time, and her husband were trying to refinance their house with a different bank.

But despite buying the house five years earlier with a 40% deposit and having a “healthy income” to meet the repayment, the woman was warned by their mortgage broker to hide her pregnancy when they met the bank, NZ Herald reported.

“We were told the banks were getting very, very tight on their lending criteria and they would probably decline us if they knew I was pregnant,” the woman told the publication.

The woman said “it was horrible” having to discuss the application wearing a puffer jacket and “very baggy clothing,” eight months pregnant, and say no when asked if having more children was in the couple's five-year plan. She believed that they would not have got their mortgage approved if they had admitted she was pregnant.

She said the situation had been “incredibly frustrating” given that they previously had a mortgage, never missed a payment, and had an excellent credit rating. She also described being asked personal questions, such as about their plans for children, as “deeply disrespectful.”

“They can't ask you in a job interview if you want to have a baby, so why should the bank be allowed?” the woman told NZ Herald.

Read more:
Reserve Bank to tighten mortgage lending rules
Leader calls for Finance Committee to rethink changes to CCCFA                    
FSF becomes next industry body to call for CCCFA changes

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