Hawke's Bay-based NZCU Baywide is using rent payment history as proof of affordability when considering mortgage applications.
The Rescue Me From Rent package has been "reinvigorated" and aimed at those who Baywide chief executive Gavin Earle says "don't fit into the big banks' typical profile".
"For example, if you are currently paying $245 a week in rent, we will lend you $150,000. If you and the family are paying $400 per week, then we will lend you $250,000, which is close to the Bay's median house price."
He said he believed it was a unique offering to the mortgage market, which had seen a general loosening of lending criteria recently.
"Our offering is the most comprehensive that I'm aware of, in that we are more flexible in terms of lending higher LVRs [Loan Value Ratio] in regional communities we serve.
"We will also look to tailor a package to help those who are working hard to get ahead but may have had a bit of a glitch with their credit record, for example, that the banks don't want to know about. This is one of the key differences between a member-owned co-operative like ours and a profit-driven bank.
Our focus is on doing what is best for our customer-owners."
He said that over the past 12 months the median house price in Hawke's Bay had increased by only $1000 - from $281,000 to $282,000.
"It is good news for home buyers. Owning a home has been the dream for generations of New Zealanders, and so affordable housing combined with access to funds is vital in allowing first homebuyers to climb on the property ladder.
"I acknowledge that renting is the preferred option for a number of people, but others see it as simply paying off someone else's mortgage. In my experience, this can cause resentment as families continue to save for that first home, which is always just out of reach.
"Like most people, I used to rent while saving the deposit for my first home, and I was lucky enough to be able to get on the property ladder," he said.
"However, I want those in the Bay to have the same opportunities as me."