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Three of the big four banks are quietly cutting interest rates on savings accounts, despite the RBA not making a move this year

Jack Derwin

Blink and you would have missed it.

The Reserve Bank of Australia hasn't reduced the official interest rate since October, but that hasn't stopped our big banks from quietly cutting the rates they pay customers.

"Although the Reserve Bank has left official interest rates on hold since October, it hasn’t stopped some of our biggest banks slicing interest rates of most the popular savings accounts," Mozo director Kirsty Lamont said in research note issued to Business Insider Australia.

According to the comparison site's analysis, NAB has cut its saving rates by 0.11%, Westpac by 0.10% and ANZ by 0.05% this year. Of the big four, only the Commonwealth Bank has relented.

While the reductions might not seem big, they're significant for two reasons. Firstly, the big banks already slashed their interest rates last year to compensate for the RBA's lead. Secondly, as Business Insider Australia has previously reported, the big banks have rigged their already uncompetitive variable rates with a list of conditions longer than your arm.

ANZ and CBA customers who make any withdrawals or don't deposit monthly required amounts, can expect to make all of 0.01% interest on their money. After fees, they'd likely end up in a worse position than where they began. NAB's base rate meanwhile is a measly 0.11% while Westpac offers no more than 0.45%.

It's a point of contention Australia's burgeoning digital banks have been making loud and clear, as they offer rates at the upper end of the market. Xinja, Up, and 86 400 all currently offer rates of 2.25%, or 1.28% higher than the market average. Volt meanwhile will offer 2.15% when it launches publicly later this month.

It comes as interest rates in Australia have already fallen sharply, with the RBA halving the official cash rate from 1.5% to 0.75% in the five months from June to October. While commercial banks have followed this lead, pushing the average savings rates around 2% lower since its 2011 peak, they have also taken some liberties on the other side of the ledger when it comes to home loans.

As interest rates fall, banks typically pay customers less on their savings but also charge them less on their mortgages. By delaying and only passing on cuts in part to borrowers, the big four banks pocketed nearly $4 billion in three years

It should come as no surprise then to see them again cutting out customers to help their own bottom line.