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Nurses helped into home ownership by Westpac’s LMI waiver program

08:00am March 18 2024

A group of nurses walk across a bridge heading towards a hospital entrance. (Getty)

Westpac’s program to bring home ownership within reach for key healthcare workers is paying dividends, with over 3,600 female registered nurses and midwives helped to buy a property since the initiative was extended to those professions in October 2022. 

The LMI waiver program was designed to ease some of the affordability challenges people face by reducing the amount of savings needed upfront. Under the waiver, eligible registered nurses and midwives can buy a home with a reduced deposit without the additional expense of lenders mortgage insurance, which typically applies when you have less than a 20 per cent deposit.

“Registered nursing and midwifery are critical roles supporting our community and they’re also among the highest female-dominated professions in Australia. Pleasingly, our data shows 77 per cent of applications under the LMI waiver come from women,” says Sarah Willsallen, Westpac’s General Manager, Mortgage Broker Distribution for New South Wales and the ACT.

One of those women is Manju Sharma, a registered nurse who works at an aged care facility in the Brisbane suburb of Jimboomba having migrated from India six years ago.

Sharma and her husband were struggling to save up for a deposit, especially as their visa status meant they would also have to pay additional tax as a foreign investor on any purchase. 

Her Home Finance Manager at Westpac identified that Sharma was eligible for the LMI waiver and would only need a 10 per cent deposit to secure a loan. The couple proceeded to buy a plot of land in Jimboomba and are now making plans to build their dream home. 

Manju Sharma and her husband Vikram stand on their plot of land in Jimboomba, Queensland. (Supplied)

Cost of living pressures and higher interest rates mean it’s a difficult time to save for a property. It can be especially challenging for key healthcare workers, who often find it hard to afford housing close to their place of work. On top of that, women can also face financial setbacks over their lifetime such as taking time out of the workforce to care for children, as well as gender pay gaps. 

Westpac’s LMI waiver is available to a range of Allied Health professions, including GPs, physios, psychologists, dentists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists. 

The program complements the bank’s other initiatives to support women, including assessing home loan applicants on parental leave on their return-to-work salary, providing better access to finance for childcare operators, and boosting the bank’s female workforce across home and business lending.

NOTE: The Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) Waiver is available for eligible registered nurses and midwives who earn over $90,000 per annum gross salary. Where both applicants are eligible healthcare professionals, the $90,000 income threshold can be met jointly by the two applicants. Under the waiver, these applicants can buy a home with a smaller deposit (from 10 per cent) with the cost of LMI waived. For more information, visit the Westpac website

James Thornhill was appointed as editor of Westpac Wire in May 2022. Prior to joining the bank, he was a business and financial journalist with more than two decades of experience with international newswires. Most recently, he was a resources correspondent for Bloomberg, covering the mining and energy sectors, and previously reported on a broad range of topics from economics and politics to currency and bond markets. Originally from the UK, he’s had stints working in London, New York and Singapore, but is now happily settled in Sydney.

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