A major Australian bank has slashed its interest rates just days ahead of the Reserve Bank’s (RBA) first meeting for the year.
Macquarie Bank - Australia’s fifth-largest lender, behind the Big Four - has cut its basic variable home loan rates by up to 0.21 percentage points. Falling inflation data released today show encouraging signs of two cash rate cuts cuts this year, with a hold predicted for next week.
Unfortunately, if you're already with Macquarie these cuts won't apply to you, they are just for new customers, with the biggest drop for owner-occupiers and investors with small deposits (10 per cent or less) who commit to paying principal and interest.
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Macquarie Bank’s lowest advertised variable rate is now 6.15 per cent, which RateCity noted was significantly lower than the Big Four’s lowest advertised rates.
RateCity research director Sally Tindall said Macquarie Bank’s decision was “broadly against the tide” when looking at recent lender activity.
“The RateCity.com.au database shows that, in the last month, just eight lenders have cut at least one new-customer variable rate, while a total of 18 lenders have increased at least one advertised variable rate,” Tindall told Yahoo Finance.
Last week, the bank also slashed its fixed rates by up to 0.56 percentage points. It cut its 3-year fixed rate down to 5.99 per cent for customers with a deposit of 30 per cent or more. In comparison to variable rates, Tindall said the “tide is now turning” for fixed rates, with 15 lenders cutting at least one rate in the past month, compared to eight lenders hiking.
While the variable changes are reserved for new customers, Tindall urged existing customers to see if they could get a rate cut too.
“Existing customers should contact Macquarie and ask for this cut to be passed on to them,” she said. “After all, why shouldn’t loyal customers get the same perks as new ones?”
Macquarie grows home loan book
Macquarie grew its home loan book by 0.89 per cent in December, according to new statistics from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. The bank is now growing at a faster pace than its rivals, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB and ANZ.
“Macquarie Bank’s new-customer rate cuts are designed to keep business coming in the door,” Tindall said. “The bank has grown considerably over half a decade and shows no sign of relinquishing its spot as Australia’s fifth-largest home loan lender.
“The bank has benefited from competitive rates, but also impressive turnaround times and a strong focus on its broker network.”
RBA expected to hold interest rates
The RBA is widely expected to hold interest rates when it meets on Tuesday next week, with today’s inflation data further easing rate-hike fears.
Inflation dropped to 4.1 per cent in the December quarter, down from 5.4 per cent in the September quarter.
Economists had been tipping a 4.3 per cent annual increase, so the lower-than-expected result will come as good news for home loan borrowers waiting for interest-rate relief.