Please note that you are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer which is not compatible with some elements of the site. We strongly urge you to update to a newer version for optimal browsing experience.

Why banks reject your home loan

21 Aug 2012

There are some common reasons why banks reject home loan applications that would-be buyers should be aware of before applying for finance. 

12% of applicants were rejected based on insufficient cash flow. The applicant’s position in many cases looked sound on paper, but their actual cash flow was insufficient. Self-employed people were seen as particularly vulnerable in this respect, financial accounts often revealing long lag times by debtors or payment defaults to them.

In an attempt to understand why a high proportion of mortgage bond applications are turned down, Rawson Property Group commissioned former Absa Bank Regional Manager, Mike van Alphen, to go through a large sample of Rawson Finance’s July bond applications. 

Van Alphen, now with Rawson Financial Services, reported back that the chief reasons for the ‘declines’ had been: 

Bad credit records

Van Alphen says this accounted for 32% of the rand value of the rejected files. What is more, he explains the banks are fairly consistent in their assessments: in more than 90% of the cases, at least three (sometimes more) of the banks took the same stance on the rejected applications, always giving the same reasons, i.e. unfavourable credit records. 

Checking in certain cases with the credit bureau, the investigation found that these failed applicants usually had two or three court judgments against them and some had had unpaid debts written off by the banks. 

“Bad credit records, therefore, emerged as the prime reason for bank rejections and this should be borne in mind by any bond mortgage applicants.” 

Unsatisfactory credit score cards

Every loan application is fully screened by the bank and points are allocated based on the criteria in a bank’s Credit Score Card System. 

If an applicant does not reach a certain minimum level of points, the application will be declined. 18% of the rejected applicants were due to the client not reaching the minimum credit score. Such clients, says van Alphen, could probably not afford the bond, alternatively their conduct on existing bank accounts had been unreliable (they had often responded negatively to bank requests for details).  

In addition, the banks took a hard look at the applicant’s employment record:  excessive job swapping and long periods out of work also counted against acceptance. 


As in the above category, the applicants here were rejected because investigations into their financial standing showed that they either did not earn enough or, more commonly, that they had not disclosed all their expenses to the consultant. 

Undisclosed expenses were often uncovered by the Credit Bureau and the banks' own records. 

“These obviously affect the client’s disposable income and his ability to repay the new loan,” says van Alphen. 

In certain cases it was, however, possible to prove that the outstanding accounts had in fact been settled. Nevertheless, 12% of the rejected applicants were disqualified on this count. 

Insufficient cash flow

12% of applicants were rejected for this reason. The applicant’s position in many cases looked sound on paper, but their actual cash flow was insufficient.  

Self-employed people were seen as particularly vulnerable in this respect, financial accounts often revealing long lag times by debtors or payment defaults to them. 

Poor account conduct

11% of rejected applicants were turned down for this reason, the applicants' existing record with their bank already being tarnished. 

Drawer cheques, unauthorised overdrafts and arrears on loan accounts and credit cards were the main reasons for the banks’ lack of trust in such applicants’ financial reliability. 


This factor, as already mentioned, resulted in a small but significant group being rejected, particularly if their accounts showed an inability to prove the income they claimed they were receiving. 

It must also be noted that all banks require a self-employed applicant to have at least a 10% deposit and reserve the right to call for a higher deposit to be paid. 

Once the bank had assessed the mortgage bond application, they sometimes decided that they would grant a lower bond amount than was applied for. This would be based on one or more of the reasons mentioned above. 

In many of these cases the client did not have the extra cash required for the deposit and the application was closed. 

Poor financials

In 3% of cases, the applicant’s business or corporate accounts were either not available or were not quite in order, which led to rejection. In one case (only), the failure to produce the required additional documents within the stipulated time also led to rejection. 

“Obviously this report will be valuable to our bond origination division and will help them to hone up their skills in pre-qualifying applicants," says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group.  

Nevertheless, he says the information should also be taken to heart by all individuals planning to apply for a bond and they should set about establishing clean records long before they start looking at houses and applying for finance.  

"South Africa’s banks are, by and large, efficient, and their score card system, although regarded by many as inflexible and a little too conservative, has in the last two years ensured that very few ‘dicey’ applicants are approved,” says Rawson. 

Rawson adds that it was encouraging to note from Mike van Alphen’s survey, that over 60% of Rawson Finance’s applications for bond finance are now being accepted. This, he says, is an impressive figure because their service covers every income group in the country. 

Print Print
Top Articles
These homes in Steyn City, Parel Vallei, Aspen Hills Nature Estate and Hillcrest exude luxury, comfort and style. Priced from R6.8m, take a look...

Cape Town’s largest and most ambitious sustainable mixed-use development, Harbour Arch, is steadily taking shape on the city’s foreshore, with construction having commenced back in January last year. 

The seismic shift that coronavirus catalysed across every facet of life - including where and how we choose to live - has had profound implications for the property developer.


Your browser is out of date!

It looks like you are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer.

If you are using Internet Explorer 8 or higher, please verify that your Internet Explorer compatibility view settings are not enabled.

For the best browsing experience, update to the latest Version of Internet Explorer or try out Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Please contact our Property24 Support Team for further assistance. Tel. +27 (0)861 111 724