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Fujitsu and Wizard join forces to slow the mortgage stress escalator

Fujitsu Australia Limited

Sydney, June 29, 2008

Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand and Wizard Home Loans today launched a bold new partnership aimed at easing the burden of mortgage stress.

Fujitsu Consulting Managing Consulting Director and Executive General Manager, Martin North, said the move came as new research reported a 15 percent increase in mortgage stress in May.

“Approximately 784,000 Australian households are experiencing some form of mortgage stress, up from 712,000 in April 2008,” Mr North said.

“The Mortgage Stress-o-Meter projections remain on track, with total stress estimated to reach 923,000 Australian households in September.”

Chairman and founder of Wizard Home Loans, Mr Mark Bouris, said mortgage stress was a cancer eating away at too many Australian households.

“This is a national epidemic that requires education and action, not blame,” Mr Bouris said.

“Irrespective of the cause of your financial problems, the most important factor that can determine whether you are able to manage the situation is how quickly you recognise mortgage stress for what it is, and how you combat it.

“Therefore, I’m pleased to announce Wizard Home Loans is partnering with Fujitsu Consulting to launch a national campaign to help Australians understand what mortgage stress is, how to recognise the early warning signs, and practical steps to help you get off the mortgage stress escalator.

“To facilitate this, we’ve prepared ‘Mortgage stress – Don’t stick your head in the sand’. This document - which can be downloaded at www.wizard.com.au/stresstips - outlines multiple strategies to ensure your home remains just that – yours,” Mr Bouris said.

Mr North said the spread of mortgage stress from traditional ‘battler’ areas to more affluent households, and the rapid decline in the timeframe between the first signs of mortgage stress and foreclosures was a clear call to action.

“Too many people believe ‘it won’t happen to me’ when it comes to mortgage stress,” Mr North said. “Worse, they mistakenly think there’s little they can do once they’re on the mortgage stress escalator.”

“Burying your head in the sand is the express route to severe mortgage stress – where you’re significantly behind with mortgage payments, funding day-to-day expenses through credit card debt; and either entering default proceedings or trying to sell up.”

Mr Bouris said the iconic Australian dream of home ownership was still alive and well, however, now more than ever, the dream needs to be accompanied by a sound strategy that will underpin your financial well-being.

“I’m determined to help all Australians work towards overcoming mortgage stress and I want people to be aware of every avenue available to them to avoid losing their home,” Mr Bouris said.

“I strongly urge people to visit the website and follow the proactive strategies outlined, even if you’re making your mortgage payments on, or close to time. If you’re borrowing heavily on credit cards, and have had to severely curtail your spending, you’re in mild mortgage stress.”

Other key findings of the May 2008 Fujitsu Consulting / Wizard Home Loans Mortgage Stress-o-Meter include:

  • 318,000 Australian households in severe mortgage stress, up by 19 percent on the previous month
  • More than 465,000 households across the country in mild mortgage stress, up from 434,000 in the April 2008 result.

The Stress-O-Meter is assessed by surveying households about their spending patterns using a series of structured questions that demonstrate their ability to finance their debt.

Updated monthly data is incorporated in the rolling 26,000 consumer sample. Households are segmented around 11 groups with discrete and disparate characteristics. This enables the Stress-O-Meter to highlight where stress is most prevalent.


Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand

Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand is a leading service provider of business, information technology and communications solutions. Throughout Australia and New Zealand we partner with our customers to consult, design, build, operate and support business solutions. From strategic consulting to application and infrastructure solutions and services, Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand have earned a reputation as the single supplier of choice for leading corporate and government organisations. Fujitsu Australia Limited and Fujitsu New Zealand Limited are wholly owned subsidiaries of Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702).
For more information, please see: au.fujitsu.com

About Fujitsu Limited

Fujitsu is a leading provider of IT-based business solutions for the global marketplace. With approximately 160,000 employees supporting customers in 70 countries, Fujitsu combines a worldwide corps of systems and services experts with highly reliable computing and communications products and advanced microelectronics to deliver added value to customers. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 5.3 trillion yen (US$53 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008.
For more information, please see: www.fujitsu.com

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Date: 29 June, 2008
City: Sydney
Company: Fujitsu Australia Limited