RBA Governor Dr Philip Lowe received heavily-discounted, taxpayer-subsidised mortgage perk for five-bedroom house in Sydney’s ritzy east

Sky News Australia can reveal Dr Philip Lowe obtained a half-price home loan – subsidised by taxpayers – from the Reserve Bank to purchase his five-bedroom property in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in 1997.  

Olivia CaisleyPolitical Reporter

Sky News Australia can reveal Reserve Bank Governor Dr Philip Lowe enjoyed an extraordinary mortgage perk on top of his generous salary – which is now more than $1 million a year.

Dr Lowe was given a half-price loan by the RBA to buy his five-bedroom home in Sydney’s east.

For some years, his interest rate was locked at half the standard variable rate being paid by Commonwealth Bank customers across Australia.

Eleven staff are still enjoying the generous perk.

The revelation comes as 880,000 Australians brace for their fixed rate mortgages to end this year and a tenth-straight interest rate increase, announced on Tuesday, with the official cash rate now at 3.6 per cent.

Land title documents, obtained by Sky News Australia, reveal Dr Lowe took out two loans to purchase the property for $1,075,000 in 1997. 

Up to $241,000 was loaned by the Reserve Bank to Dr Lowe at the heavily discounted rate and another $151,000 was borrowed directly from the Commonwealth Bank.

The documents suggest that neither of the loans have been discharged but a spokeswoman for the RBA insists they were paid off “several years ago” and Dr Lowe no longer has a mortgage.

Sky News Australia can reveal Dr Philip Lowe obtained a half-price home loan - subsidised by taxpayers - from the Reserve Bank to purchase a five-bedroom property in Sydney's east in 1997.  Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Sky News Australia can reveal Dr Philip Lowe obtained a half-price home loan – subsidised by taxpayers – from the Reserve Bank to purchase a five-bedroom property in Sydney’s east in 1997. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Sky News Australia can reveal Dr Lowe, who started working at the bank in 1980, was one of those who took up a staff offer of concessional loans, pegged at half the CBA rate.

The existence of the Officers’ Home Advances Scheme courted controversy 20 years ago when it was revealed almost a quarter of RBA staff in 2003 were benefitting from the mortgages heavily subsidised by taxpayers.

The front page of The Daily Telegraph on September 3 2003 exposed almost a quarter of RBA staff at the time were benefitting from the mortgages heavily subsidised by taxpayers.

The front page of The Daily Telegraph on September 3 2003 exposed almost a quarter of RBA staff at the time were benefitting from the mortgages heavily subsidised by taxpayers.

At the time the bank refused to reveal the identities of those who had taken out mortgages under the scheme.

The scheme was scrapped in 2001.

A real estate listing from 1997 describes Dr Lowe’s property as a “freestanding home of Victorian vintage with all the features you’ve been dying to find”, with “soaring ceilings, marble fireplaces, polished wide beamed timber floors, huge rooms”.

Dr Lowe courted criticism last month after he decided not to speak publicly at the National Press Club following a meeting of the RBA board and instead attend a private lunch hosted by investment bank Barrenjoey to talk to over a dozen bond traders from the big four banks.

He was already under fire for his forecast that interest rates were unlikely to rise until at least 2024.

He has since conceded the prediction was an “embarrassing error”.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers is yet to decide whether he will reappoint the governor when his seven-year-term expires on September 17.

The Treasurer is still awaiting the outcome of an independent review into the central bank.

He told Sunday Agenda last month he would decide closer to the middle of the year.

“After we get the Reserve Bank review at the end of March and consider its recommendations, but the review and the appointment won’t be about any one decision or set of decisions,” Mr Chalmers told Sunday Agenda. 

“It will be about who is best placed to take the Bank forward into the future, based on what we run with . . . but that doesn’t change [the fact] I have a very good, very respectful relationship with Phil Lowe.

“I have [had] for a long time, he’s got a difficult job to do, get on top of this inflation without crunching the economy.”

Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: