Gareth Hutchens -Apr 16, 2012
"Banks are coming under pressure to maintain profit growth in an era of slow credit growth. The other big banks said at the weekend they were all considering their position." Illustration: Karl Hilz
HOME loan borrowers face a nervous wait as the big banks decide whether to follow ANZ's controversial move on Friday to raise standard variable interest rates outside of the Reserve Bank's cash cycle.
ANZ lifted its standard variable mortgage rate by six basis points to 7.42 per cent, the second such move in as many months, adding $14 a fortnight to a $300,000 mortgage.
It said it did so in part because of the ''high cost of funding'', putting it at odds with the RBA, which said last month that the banks had pushed through recent mortgage rate increases to maintain profits.
Banks are coming under pressure to maintain profit growth in an era of slow credit growth.
The other big banks said at the weekend they were all considering their position.
''We keep our rates under review all the time, so we'll just keep doing that,'' a Commonwealth Bank spokesman, Bryan Fitzgerald, said.
A Westpac spokesman said: ''We review rates from time to time but we don't have any further comment on that.''
The rate rise puts ANZ slightly ahead of the Commonwealth Bank at 7.41 per cent and more than 10 basis points above National Australia Bank, which sells variable mortgages at 7.31 per cent. Westpac remains ahead of ANZ, at 7.46 per cent.
An NAB spokesman, Brian Walsh, would not say if the bank planned to raise rates this week but he said it was committed to maintaining the lowest standard variable mortgage rate for the year.
ANZ's home loan customers recorded the biggest fall in customer satisfaction in March, despite the fact that the bank lifted rates by less than its rivals, figures from Roy Morgan Research show.
The industry communications director at Roy Morgan, Norman Morris, said at the time that the first bank to increase their home loan rate appeared to suffer the ''greatest negative impact'' on customer satisfaction because of the widespread adverse publicity.