Credit unions, building societies and other mutual institutions offer significant mortgage savings, but the majority of Australians are unaware of these benefits, according to a new survey by The Australia Institute.
Standard variable interest rates for the mutuals have been consistently lower than those of the big four banks in recent years.
For an average loan, this can add up to savings of as much as $76,000 over the life of the loan and reduce the repayment period by three years, which would be great for property investment.
The Australia Institute executive director, Dr Richard Denniss, says that while many Australians are aware that co-operatives deliver high-quality products at low prices, the report suggests these institutions have not done a great job of explaining how they do it and why it matters.
The report says there are opportunities for mutuals to better explain their ownership structure and its benefits and the contribution they make to the community.