Frenzied competition cuts mortgage spreads

Mizrahi Tefahot Bank had the highest spread on mortgages, and Bank Leumi and First International Bank of Israel had the lowest.

Breaking news (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Breaking news
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
The average spread on mortgages is less than half the average for credit in the banking system, according to a Globes analysis of banks’ financial reports for 2010. Mizrahi Tefahot Bank had the highest spread on mortgages, and Bank Leumi and First International Bank of Israel had the lowest.
The figures indicate that the average spread on mortgage loans (taking into account all loan plans) was 0.68 percent in 2010, while the average spread on credit was 1.2%. In other words, the margin is 43 basis points lower on mortgage loans than on regular credit.
The figures also indicate that while the average spread on credit rose to 1.2% in 2010 from 1.09% in 2009, it was unchanged at 0.68% on mortgage loans.
The figures confirm the claim by Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer that the banks are granting mortgage loans at margins that do not reflect the risk. Last week, he told the Knesset Finance Committee the spreads were very low. “It’s enough for 0.5% of borrowers to become insolvent and banks will begin to lose money,” he said.
Mizrahi Tefahot Bank had the highest spread on credit, at 0.91% in 2010, up from 0.88% in 2009. The bank has the largest mortgage portfolio, averaging NIS 52.8 billion in 2010, and it has the lowest difference between its average spread on mortgage loans (0.91%) and on average credit (1.1%).
Union Bank of Israel had the second-highest spread on mortgage loans, at 0.84% in 2010, up from 0.69% in 2009.
Its average spread on credit was 1.09% in 2010. It had the smallest share of the mortgage market, with an average portfolio of NIS 5.4b. in 2010.
Israel Discount Bank had the third-highest spread on mortgage loans, at 0.76% in 2010, down from 0.77% in 2009.
The spread on mortgage loans of Bank Hapoalim was 0.68% in 2010, up from 0.65% in 2009. The bank had the third-largest average mortgage portfolio in 2010, at NIS 39.5b.
Bank Leumi, which had the second-largest average mortgage portfolio of NIS 47.7b. in 2010, had a spread on mortgage loans of 0.45%, down from 0.49% in 2009. The bank’s average spread on credit was 1.22% in 2010.
First International Bank also had a spread on mortgage loans of 0.45% in 2010, up from 0.43% in 2009, the lowest figure for that year. The bank’s average spread on credit was 1.13% in 2010.


Tags Bank Leumi