Hidden pregnancy for mortgage | Otago Daily Times News Online

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A Dunedin woman says she was “strongly advised” by her mortgage broker to conceal her pregnancy when meeting with a bank last year.

While this was before government changes to the Credit Agreements and Consumer Credit Act (CCCFA), the woman, who declined to be named, believed the bank had prepared for the changes.

Earlier this week, another Dunedin woman said a bank told her they would only consider giving her a mortgage if she returned to work within 90 days of giving birth.

She was one of many people to describe their difficulties in obtaining a mortgage under the changes to the CCCFA.

The new rules mean banks are requiring detailed breakdowns of applicants’ spending habits and delving into their personal lives before approving mortgages.

Now a mum has come forward to describe her experience before the new rules came into effect last month.

The woman, who was pregnant at the time, and her husband were trying to refinance their home with another bank in the middle of last year.

They had bought the house about five years earlier with a 40% down payment and “healthy income” to meet the repayment.

Despite this, she was warned by their mortgage broker to hide her pregnancy when they met with the bank.

“We were told that the banks were getting very, very strict on their lending criteria and would probably turn us down if they knew I was pregnant,” she said.

The woman wore a down jacket and “very baggy clothes” during the meeting to discuss her candidacy.

She was asked if having more children was in the couple’s five-year plan, she said.

“I had to sit there with my down jacket, eight months pregnant, and say no. It was awful.”

The woman believed that if they had admitted she was pregnant, they would not have had their mortgage approved.

She described the situation as “incredibly frustrating” given that they had previously had a mortgage, had never missed a payment and had excellent credit.

Being asked personal questions, such as about their plans for the children, was “deeply disrespectful”, she said.

“They can’t ask you in a job interview if you want to have a baby, so why should the bank be allowed?”

Another Dunedin woman, whom the Otago Daily Times agreed not to name, was refused a mortgage almost two years ago after telling the bank she would not return to work after having had her baby.

The woman, who worked at the bank she was applying to and was pregnant at the time, decided that due to her husband’s income of $2,000 a fortnight, she would not work for a few years to raise her children.

“We could cover our expenses quite comfortably with his earnings, but they said no once I told them I wasn’t going back to work,” she said.

After that, the couple applied to a new bank and their application was accepted “with no problem”.

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