Some of Australia’s biggest banks are under attack for failing to pass on in full to home loan customers the Reserve Bank’s interest rate cut.
Only one of the nation’s big four banks, ANZ, has followed the RBA’s lead and cut standard variable home loan rates by 25 basis points.
ANZ’s rivals, the Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank, held back and trimmed their rates by just 20 basis points. Westpac late Wednesday announced a cut to its variable rate by 0.22 per cent to 5.48 per cent after the RBA sliced its cash rate by 0.25 per cent to a record low of two per cent on Tuesday.
Treasurer Joe Hockey earlier said he will be “very angry” if the nation’s banks don’t pass on the RBA’s rate cut in full.
“The banks are making very good profit and we need our banks to be profitable,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“But when the Reserve Bank acts, we expect the banks to also act in full as well.”
ANZ lowered its standard variable rate to 5.38 per cent shortly after the RBA cut. But CBA and NAB failed to follow suit, with their standard variable rates falling to 5.45 per cent and 5.43 per cent, respectively.
CBA also lifted interest rates for two key savings accounts in an attempt to help young people and retirees who have seen the money they make from term deposits fall in line with RBA rate cuts in recent years.
But the bank came under fire from consumer watchdog Choice, which branded as “cynical” its decision not to pass on the full RBA rate cut.
“While we welcome the bank’s decision to raise some deposit interest rates, CBA is hardly on struggle street, and its mortgage customers deserve better,” Choice campaigns and communications director Matt Levey said.
“CBA has plenty of capacity to compete for deposit customers, especially young savers, without engaging in spin and playing them off against mortgage holders.”
Retirees relying on fixed income investments, such as bank term deposits, have come under pressure since the RBA began its latest rate cutting cycle in late 2011.
Since October 2011, the RBA’s cash rate has fallen from 4.75 per cent.