Regional banks pushing up mortgage rates despite RBA cut

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A few banks, including Brisbane-based Suncorp and Westpac-owned Bank of Melbourne, have pushed through a series of out-of-cycle mortgage rate rises despite the recent Reserve Bank cut of official cut rates to a record-low of 1.75 per cent.

Bank of Melbourne increased the rate of its basic discount promotional home loan deal for new customers last week by five basis points, rising from 3.99 per cent to 4.04 per cent. However, existing customers still get to receive the full 25-basis-point reduction enacted by the RBA.

This week, Suncorp also increased its annual rate on special offer variable home loan packages for owner-occupiers by 20 basis points to 4.15 per cent. The same increase is implemented for investors buying the home package plus product, which now has an interest rate of 4.47 per cent. Suncorp's standard variable rate remains at 5.5 per cent, but it cut its other two-year fixed-rate mortgages by 10-25 basis points.

"By making changes to their policy and pricing, Australia's lenders can better manage their flow of business and I would expect this to continue for the foreseeable future, especially in the investment lending space," said Mortgage Choice chief executive John Flavell.

"After the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority stated that lenders should restrict their growth in investment lending to 10 per cent a year, Australia's lenders have, understandably, been forced to tweak policy and pricing to achieve that level of growth," he added.

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