Customer Charter. Version 1

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1 Customer Charter Version 1

2 Welcome to Bluestone The Bluestone Group has been operating since In that time, Bluestone has developed a reputation in the industry as a high quality and innovative specialist lender delivering a range of loans to many satisfied customers. In this booklet we will: introduce you to Bluestone; explain how we operate and how you can access our loans; provide you with a summary of our range of loans and explain how our commission structure works. Overview Bluestone was established in 2000 as a residential mortgage lender. The business has subsequently expanded into commercial lending, equity release products, loan servicing and asset management and now operates from offices in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. European operations are headquartered in Cambridge, UK. Bluestone is owned by a number of private and institutional shareholders including Macquarie Bank and Lloyds International. The group established its UK subsidiary in early 2009, expanding into Spain in 2011 and Ireland in 2012, positioning for emerging credit opportunities in Europe. Since our launch, Bluestone has developed a reputation in the industry as a high quality and innovative specialist lender delivering an award-winning range of loan products to many satisfied customers. Bluestone s range of loans aims to provide flexible loan solutions to those who fall outside of the traditional lenders lending criteria. Our experienced loan assessors bring a unique approach to lending while ensuring that loans comply with our responsible lending obligations. To date, Bluestone has provided over $A5 billion in loans to many thousands of satisfied customers in Australasia. The Bluestone Group operates under the names Bluestone Mortgages, Bluestone Equity Release, Bluestone Close Credit and Bluestone Servicing in Australia, Europe and New Zealand. P: 13 BLUE ( ) F: W: P: PO Box Q1136, QVB Post Office Sydney NSW 1230 S: Level 3, 101 Sussex Street Sydney NSW 2000 Version 1 2

3 Our Products Residential Mortgages We provide Non-conforming loans to borrowers whose circumstances do not meet traditional lending requirements. Our Residential Mortgages are suitable for PAYG and selfemployed borrowers who require specialist loan solutions with flexible features and who may fall short of traditional lender s lending criteria for a number of reasons including those relating to their employment status or credit rating. These loans require you to make regular repayments until you have repaid your loan in full. For further information on our product features and benefits, please contact your broker, Bluestone direct, or visit our website. EQUITYtap Reverse Mortgages Previously we provided reverse mortgages for those over 60 and who owned residential property through our EQUITYtap loans. With this loan you could release up to $1 million for any purpose without making any regular repayments while you still lived in your own home. You could choose to receive funds as a lump sum, regular instalments or a pre-approved Ready Access facility to draw down funds as you required. Our EQUITYtap loans came with either a Fixed for Life interest rate option or a Capped for Life variable rate option. Bluestone ceased offering new EQUITYtap loans in April of Commercial Mortgages Previously we provided Commercial Mortgages, for the purchase or refinance of commercial property. These loans were designed especially to meet the needs of small business owners, owner-occupiers and professional investors who were looking to acquire funds predominantly for business or investment purposes. If you were looking to get ahead, whether it was for a business property you wanted to own and occupy, to expand your business or to consolidate existing business borrowing, our Commercial Mortgages may have been the solution to meet your needs. Bluestone ceased writing new commercial mortgages loans in September of Version 1 3

4 Who are Bluestone s customers? Bluestone s loans are designed to be more flexible than those of a traditional lender. Our customers come from all walks of life and we believe we serve a broader and more representative cross-section of the community than any other lender. This diversity applies to personal situation, employment type, length of time in the country, age and business type. We have customers in their 80s, others who have only recently arrived in the country, entrepreneurs in the early stages of starting a business, recent divorcees funding the division of their assets, and successful business people raising working capital to expand their businesses. We lend to people who are consolidating expensive credit cards and store cards to reduce their monthly repayments, property investors raising funds to purchase another property, borrowers with credit problems looking to put them in their past, and contractors working on a variety of short-term contracts. Many of our customers are self-employed, and we understand the myriad of difficulties facing small business proprietors, both in terms of managing cash flow within a business, and in demonstrating serviceability when it comes to applying for a loan. Some of our customers have had credit problems (we don t find that surprising as around 10% of the community have) and to them we offer an open mind and an understanding approach. Version 1 4

5 Three S s of lending When Bluestone reviews your loan application, we apply the three S s of lending security, scenario and serviceability. Security Bluestone will generally lend against residential security properties that are complete and not under construction located in an acceptable security location. We don t lend against some property types; for example construction projects, serviced apartments, vacant land, exotic properties, pubs and theme parks. Scenario This describes the background to your loan application, and in this regard Bluestone is quite different to other lenders. Rather than using computer-based credit scoring to process loans, our experienced team of assessors take the time to look at the background of your application to form a view. We do so without passing judgement, and with an open mind we are not here to judge you, merely to form a view on whether you intend, and are able, to service your loan without hardship. We ask that you provide us with honest and complete information to assist us in making our decision. Serviceability This describes your ability to make regular repayments on your loan. Bluestone will not lend unless we are comfortable, based on what you tell us, that you can service your home loan without financial hardship. We use a serviceability calculation based on your or our cost of living estimate (whichever is highest), plus any other debts that you must pay, plus the cost of servicing your Bluestone loan. We may ask for bank statements and other evidence to support your ability to service your loan. Version 1 5

6 How do I get a Bluestone loan? You can get a Bluestone loan several ways through our Accredited Introducers, a referral from certain traditional bank and non-bank lenders, and direct from Bluestone. Accredited Introducer network Several thousand mortgage and financial professionals in Australia refer their clients to Bluestone. Accredited means that Bluestone ensures as far as possible that the Introducer is trustworthy and reputable and a member of a professional industry body such as the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA), the Finance Brokers Association of Australia Limited (FBAA) or the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPAA). The Introducer will also be an Australian Credit License holder or a credit representative of an Australian Credit Licence holder. Referrals from traditional lenders Increasingly traditional lenders are referring borrowers to Bluestone, so that they can give their clients access to Bluestone s flexible loans. Direct to customers We have a dedicated team who are available to service enquiries we receive directly from the public. Version 1 6

7 Commissions, rates & fees Commissions When a loan is settled through one of Accredited Introducers we remunerate them by way of a commission payment. If your loan is settled through an Introducer, the Introducer should outline in a disclosure statement the commission amount they will receive as a result of your loan, the services they agree to provide, and the Brokerage Fee (see below) if they choose to charge this. Brokerage Fee Many Introducers rely on commission as their source of income and do not charge a brokerage fee. Brokerage fees should not be confused with commissions. Some Introducers may charge you a brokerage fee to cover costs in assisting you to find a loan. This fee arrangement is between you and your Introducer. If you choose to use an Introducer that charges a brokerage fee, make sure you have a written agreement that sets out the terms of the services being provided. Other fees and charges Other fees and charges may apply depending on your loan type and circumstances. Bluestone aims to be fair and transparent by disclosing the fees chargeable for your loan facility in your loan agreement. You may also obtain information on our fees and charges through your Introducer or through Bluestone. Version 1 7

8 Bluestone s Customer Charter Our Key Commitments We will: Act fairly, reasonably and honestly; Ensure that all our loans comply with our Customer Charter, even if they have their own terms and conditions; Communicate with you where possible in plain English, act transparently in our dealings with you, provide full and early disclosure of key contractual terms, and offer you assistance if there are aspects or your loan that you do not understand; Unless you have already chosen your loan type, help you choose a loan to fit your needs; Help you understand the financial implications of our loans, and how they work; Correct errors and handle complaints efficiently and courteously; Consider cases of financial difficulty and loan arrears sympathetically and constructively; Ensure that all loans provided to you comply with all relevant laws. Lending Philosophies Plain English Finding the right loan can be a complex and intimidating process. We are committed wherever possible to using plain English to ensure that this process is kept as simple and that you do not enter into any agreements that you do not understand. You can help us by ensuring that you take the time to read your documentation thoroughly, and that you seek advice if there are any aspects of our loan offer and documentation that you do not understand. Version 1 8

9 Bluestone s Customer Charter continued Independent Legal and Financial Advice We strongly recommend that you obtain independent legal and financial advice in respect of your loan. If you are over 60 years of age we require you to obtain independent legal advice. This is to ensure that you are properly advised on the obligations under your loan. Honesty If we become aware that you have been dishonest in your loan application, we will summarily decline the proposal. If we have settled your loan and become aware that you have been dishonest, we reserve the right to demand repayment of your loan, including payment of any fees as disclosed in your loan agreement. We ask that you be open and honest when providing information to us. As a specialist lender, we are accustomed to seeing a wide variety of circumstances, and we are more likely to approve your loan if you furnish us with full and accurate information. Version 1 9

10 Bluestone s Customer Charter continued Regulated and unregulated loans The National Consumer Credit Protection Act (NCCPA) and National Credit Code (NCC) is legislation designed to (amongst other things) protect consumers and ensure that lending practices are fair and reasonable. The NCCPA requires entities that undertake credit activities to be licensed with ASIC. ASIC monitors credit participants to ensure that they comply with their license conditions. In order to maintain a licence a credit participant must maintain certain standards of compliance. The NCCPA mandates responsible lending requirements which require credit participants to assess a consumer s financial situation and objectives against the loan being offered. A loan must not be offered if the consumer could only comply with the terms of the loan with substantial hardship. Requirements relating to disclosure of product information, fees and charges, complaints handling processes and other relevant information are in place to ensure that consumers can make an informed choice as to the product they are acquiring. For credit assessment and documentation purposes, Bluestone does not generally differentiate between a regulated and unregulated loan. Regardless of the lender, you should only declare your loan is for business purposes if it is in fact for a business (and not a personal domestic or household purpose or investment in residential property) purpose. Be cautious if you are asked by someone to sign a declaration that your loan is for business/investment (other than investment in residential property) purposes. This is because by signing such a declaration you may forfeit some protections under the NCC. You will not be asked to sign a false declaration by Bluestone. Version 1 10

11 Bluestone s Customer Charter continued Pricing Parity Bluestone uses a consistent loan pricing structure across the market. The same interest rate will apply whether your loan application is referred to us, or you come direct to us rather than going via a market intermediary. The interest rate we (or your Introducer) quote you is the interest rate you pay. Bluestone does not allow Introducers to add a discretionary margin or loading to that rate. No Contingent Selling Our loan approval process is not contingent upon the selling of any other financial product or service, provided by either Bluestone or an Introducer (such as credit protection insurance or mortgage reduction services). Marketing and Communications Transparency and Accuracy We do not use, promote or encourage high-pressure selling techniques or aggressive promotion of its loans. We do not encourage you to take out a loan without having been given adequate time to reflect on the proposed transaction. We endeavour to make our marketing material clear, legible, and not misleading. We use our best efforts to ensure that any interest rates or terms disclosed in an advertisement are accurate and representative of the business being advertised. Version 1 11

12 Financial Difficulties If you cannot make a repayment Contact us immediately on or you can contact us on to: to discuss your situation. If there is a reason why you cannot make repayments we may be able to help you by agreeing to vary your contract. The sooner you contact us the easier it will be to assist you. You may also have specific legal rights to have changes made to your contract to help you repay your debt. Please contact us for more information. Enforcement philosophy Enforcing our security over your property is the least satisfactory outcome for both us as a lender and you as a customer. Whilst Bluestone takes loan arrears seriously, if after taking a loan with us you fall into arrears, we will not harass you, or make excessive or intimidating telephone calls, nor will you be contacted at unsociable hours. We will respond professionally and promptly to your calls, or any representative you appoint to communicate with us on your behalf. Equity Release loan We will deal with you compassionately should you or your partner pass away, or you are struggling with the upkeep of your property. In the event both borrowers have passed away, we will allow sufficient time for your estate to arrange for the loan to be repaid or to sell the property (usually this is 6 months). No Negative Equity Guarantee Our Equity Release loan has a robust No Negative Equity Guarantee which means that neither you nor your estate will be required to pay any shortfall if the loan is greater than the property s net sale value provided the terms and conditions of the loan have been met. Version 1 12

13 Customer Service Whilst we endeavour to provide high quality service to our customers and business partners, we recognise that like all business issues may arise. Any feedback indicating our service was not acceptable will be handled smoothly and efficiently, and treated as a potential opportunity to improve our service. Similarly, we are very pleased to hear good news, and we will pass on positive feedback to the staff involved. You can contact us regarding an aspect of our service, by filling in the e-form available on our website at Alternatively you can contact us using one of the options below: us at Telephone our Corporate Affairs department on In writing, addressed to The Compliance Officer - Bluestone Group PO Box Q1136, QVB Post Office Sydney NSW 1230 We aim to respond to any customer comments or complaints within 48 hours of receipt. If, however, you are dissatisfied with our response, you may request to have your matter dealt with by the Senior Compliance Manager. If you are still not satisfied you are entitled to contact the Credit Ombudsman Services Limited External Dispute Resolution Scheme by telephoning Bluestone Group Pty Limited. This booklet is produced as a guide only. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information contained is accurate and up to date as of 17 May 2013, the information contained should not be relied upon for any purpose, or used as a substitute for independent professional advice. As such, you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your own financial situation, objectives and needs. We strongly recommend you seek independent professional advice specific to your individual circumstances. We reserve the right to change any information contained in this booklet without notice. Product specific information relates to products currently on offer from Bluestone. Bluestone Mortgages is a trading name of Bluestone Group Pty Limited ABN Bluestone Equity Release is a trading name of Bluestone Equity Release Pty Limited ABN a subsidiary of Bluestone Group Pty Limited. Both have the registered office at Level 3, 101 Sussex Street Sydney NSW Version 1 13

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