Lenders playing naughty and nice with cash rate cut

July 24, 2019 BY

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has pressured the big four banks to fully pass on the RBA’s rate cut.

Following this month’s announcement by the RBA to cut the cash rate to a historic low of 1.00 per cent, how did lenders react to the move by way of their own interest rates?

Macquarie passed on the RBA’s interest rates across its fixed-rate home loans (investor and owner-occupier alike) by up to 40 basis points, exceeding the savings passed on by most of the four big banks. This announcement includes both principal/interest and interest-only loans.

Changes to Macquarie’s Basic Fixed Investment Home Loan are as follows: two and three-year fixed ‘principal and interest’ rates have been reduced from 4.09 per cent to 3.49 per cent, while two and three-year fixed ‘interest-only’ rates have been cut from 4.09 per cent to 3.69 per cent. Similar cuts were passed on to Macquarie’s Basic Fixed Owner Occupier Home Loan. Two and three-year ‘principal and interest’ rates were reduced from 4.19 per cent to 3.59 per cent, while two and three-year ‘interest-only’ rates were reduced from 4.49 per cent to 3.89 per cent.

Following the announcement of the cash rate cut by the RBA at the start of the month, the big four banks were heavily criticised for not fully passing on this cut to consumers. Facing significant pressure in June by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, ANZ was the only one of the big four to acquiesce and pass on the full 25 per cent rate cut. None of the big four banks have passed on the full .5 per cent cut from June and July, only days after the RBA cash rate cut both ANZ and National Australia Bank cut interest rates to their saver accounts.

Financial research firm Canstar has noted that ANZ halved its online saver base interest rate to 0.15 per cent, while keeping its introductory rate on the account at 1.8 per cent. It has also cut .25 percentage points from the bonus rate of its progress saver account, to 1.95 per cent.

Commbank announced that it would be passing on a cut of 19 basis points to principal and interest loans and 25 basis points to interest-only borrowers, and that these cuts would be passed on from the July 23, nearly two weeks after ANZ.

Westpac announced that it would pass on cuts of 20 basis points to owner occupier loans and 30 basis points for investors with interest-only loans. The bank tried to justify why it was not passing on the RBA’s cash rate cut in full, noting that its Standard Variable Rate (SVR) was the lowest it had been in 45 years for owner-occupier loans paying principal and interest loans.