ANZ pushes up rates: will your bank be next?

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As news filters through that ANZ has pushed its standard variable interest rate by 0.6% despite this month’s rate hold by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), borrowers have been warned that their bank may be next to announce an independent rate rise.

ANZ may have incurred that wrath of Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan in announcing its variable interest rate rise, with Swan stating that the move “flies in the face of recent Reserve Bank statements saying funding costs for banks have eased”, but the remainder of the Big Four lenders have refused to rule out their own independent rate rises.

As things stand, ANZ’s 0.6% hike makes its standard variable rate of 7.42% the second highest of the Big Four after Westpac (7.46%). The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s standard variable rate comes is the next highest at 7.41%, followed by NAB (7.31%).

According to a Fairfax report, none of the Big Four will publicly rule out following ANZ’s lead and announcing their own independent rate rises, but NAB has committed to keeping the lowest standard variable rate of the four majors.

Commenting on the current trend for rate rises that are out of step with the Reserve Bank’s official cash rate decisions, ME Bank CEO Jamie McPhee urged the banking community not to use ANZ's latest interest rate decision as an open invitation to hike rates on their own products.

"Consumers are still feeling the impact of the decision by all the major banks, and even some of the smaller banks, to raise rates at times when the RBA has kept the official cash rate stable," he said. "The major banks need to think carefully before hurting customers once again."

"With banking reform now making it easier for Australians to switch banks, we expect ANZ's decision will see dissatisfied customers seek out genuinely fairer banking alternatives,” he added.

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