Swan hits out after ANZ lifts its rates
"There would be a lot of ANZ customers very upset about this decision to jack up rates" ... Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan. Photo: Andrew Meares
THE Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has lashed out at ANZ's move last night to increase its mortgage rates by six basis points, questioning whether banks were simply protecting profits.
Mr Swan said the increase to variable mortgage and small business rates was at odds with signs that funding costs for the sector were falling. It also followed the Reserve Bank's decision to keep official cash rates on hold.
''There would be a lot of ANZ customers very upset about this decision to jack up rates, coming after their recent massive profit announcement and staff sackings,'' Mr Swan said.
''ANZ's decision to whack its customers at a time when many of them are doing it tough flies in the face of recent Reserve Bank statements saying funding costs for banks have eased.''
ANZ's Australian boss, Phil Chronican, said the out-of-cycle rate move was needed as funding pressures including pricing of deposits continue to push up costs for the bank.
He insisted that none of his bank's customers have been unfairly treated.
The rate increase to 7.42 per cent on a standard variable mortgage comes as economists are tipping the Reserve Bank will cut official cash rates as early as next month.
This marks the second out-of-cycle rate increase by the ANZ in as many months. The latest rate rise puts ANZ slightly behind Westpac at 7.46 per cent and ahead of Commonwealth Bank at 7.41 per cent. National Australia Bank sells variable mortgages at 7.31 per cent. For ANZ customers, the rise adds $14 a fortnight to a $300,000 mortgage.
with Clancy Yeates