Majors still silent on rates

Jessica Darnbrough

It now seems very likely that the major banks will not pass on the Reserve Bank's full rate cut to their borrowers.

More than 24 hours after the RBA announced it would cut the official cash rate from 4.5 per cent to 4.25 per cent, the majors have remained quiet.

Last month, all of the majors moved to pass on some or all of the RBA 25 basis point rate cut within 16 hours.

This month, however, the story is very different.

While it seems unlikely that all of the majors will now pass on the full rate cut, how much of the rate cut they will withhold remains to be seen.

Pressure continues to mount on the majors to pass on the full rate cut. Yesterday, ME Bank and Bank of Queensland announced their plans to pass on the 25 basis point rate cut to their borrowers.

Since then, Heritage Bank has announced it too will pass on the full RBA rate cut.

Heritage's discount variable mortgage rate will now drop to 6.35 per cent from 6.60 per cent and the standard variable mortgage rate will drop to 6.94 per cent, down from 7.19 per cent.

The reductions will be effective from 16 December.

Heritage's chief executive John Minz said the rate cut was a concrete demonstration that the change of name to Heritage Bank last week had not changed Heritage's focus on the interests of members.

"We remain absolutely committed to ensuring we deliver the best value possible to members," he said.

"At Heritage, we're not about generating the biggest profits we can. We're all about the best interests of our members and the communities in which they live."

But the pressure on the majors is not just coming from within the industry.

Both Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Penny Wong have made it very clear that they expect the majors to pass on the full rate cut.

"Banks have to understand the tough environment families and small businesses face," Senator Wong said.

Jessica Darnbrough

It now seems very likely that the major banks will not pass on the Reserve Bank's full rate cut to their borrowers.

More than 24 hours after the RBA announced it would cut the official cash rate from 4.5 per cent to 4.25 per cent, the majors have remained quiet.

Last month, all of the majors moved to pass on some or all of the RBA 25 basis point rate cut within 16 hours.

This month, however, the story is very different.

While it seems unlikely that all of the majors will now pass on the full rate cut, how much of the rate cut they will withhold remains to be seen.

Pressure continues to mount on the majors to pass on the full rate cut. Yesterday, ME Bank and Bank of Queensland announced their plans to pass on the 25 basis point rate cut to their borrowers.

Since then, Heritage Bank has announced it too will pass on the full RBA rate cut.

Heritage's discount variable mortgage rate will now drop to 6.35 per cent from 6.60 per cent and the standard variable mortgage rate will drop to 6.94 per cent, down from 7.19 per cent.

The reductions will be effective from 16 December.

Heritage's chief executive John Minz said the rate cut was a concrete demonstration that the change of name to Heritage Bank last week had not changed Heritage's focus on the interests of members.

"We remain absolutely committed to ensuring we deliver the best value possible to members," he said.

"At Heritage, we're not about generating the biggest profits we can. We're all about the best interests of our members and the communities in which they live."

But the pressure on the majors is not just coming from within the industry.

Both Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Penny Wong have made it very clear that they expect the majors to pass on the full rate cut.

"Banks have to understand the tough environment families and small businesses face," Senator Wong said.

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