National Australia Bank says it will keep its variable mortgage rates on hold despite moves by its big-four rivals to hike rates in response to increased funding costs.
Chief executive Andrew Thorburn on Monday said the NAB would continue to monitor funding conditions, but planned to hold its standard variable rate at 5.24 per cent.
Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ have over the past two weeks said they would raise their standard variable rates for owner-occupiers to 5.38, 5.37 and 5.36 per cent respectively.
NAB said that if home loan rates had increased by 15 points (0.15pc), a customer with a $500,000 mortgage would have had to pay an extra $47 per month.
Mr Thorburn said that NAB’s decision was a direct result of an environment in which huge profits and revelations of misconduct aired at the banking royal commission had damaged the big banks’ public standing.
“We need to rebuild the trust of our customers, and by holding our NAB standard variable rate longer, we help our customers for longer,” Mr Thorburn said.
“By focusing more on our customers, we build trust and advocacy, and this creates a more sustainable business.”
The out-of-cycle hikes by NAB’s rivals led to economists last week suggesting the Reserve Bank of Australia would keep the cash rate on hold at a record low of 1.5 per cent for even longer than previously thought.
The RBA, which has not moved on rates since August 2016, would be wary of increasing the load on borrowers – and decreasing the amount they can spend elsewhere in the economy – and could even cut the cash rate if the banks hike further, AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said.