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Call out to savers

Often, when we hear about the rise and fall of interest rates, our first thoughts might centre on the effect on borrowers and their mortgages.

Yet the savings potential of would-be homebuyers is also impacted – and the ACCC wants to hear from savers who feel they have not received a fair deal from their banks on interest rates.

“The vast majority of Australian consumers have at least one savings, transaction, term deposit or other retail deposit account, and collectively Australians hold over $1.45 trillion in retail deposit accounts”, ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

“For many Australians, the interest earned on these accounts is an important source of income, and consumers are understandably keen to ensure they are receiving a good return on their savings.”

Over the past 12 months, the Reserve Bank of Australia has increased the cash rate target from 0.35% in May 2022 to 3.60% in March 2023 in response to high and rising inflation.

While banks have generally increased variable rate home loans interest rates in line with the cash rate increases, increases to the savings interest rates that banks pay their customers have often been smaller or conditional.

The ACCC will be considering how banks have adjusted their rates for deposit accounts following these changes to the cash rate target, including the use of introductory and other conditional interest rate offers.

“We are eager to hear about competition and consumer issues affecting the supply of retail deposit products to Australian consumers and self-managed super funds”, Cass-Gottlieb said.

“This inquiry will closely examine how banks make decisions on interest rates, and any barriers consumers face in getting a better deal”.

The Inquiry will also examine how interest rates of similar products vary between consumers depending on the amounts deposited, whether they are new or existing customers, whether they hold other products with the same bank or if they belong to a particular demographic.

“We also want to hear from consumers and consumer organisations about experiences in searching for and taking up retail deposit products, including any impediments consumers face in switching banks to get a better deal”, Cass-Gottlieb added.

Key issues the ACCC is seeking feedback on include:

– how banks and other authorised deposit-taking institutions set their rates on retail deposit products;
– how their approaches differ from rate setting for credit products, such as home loans;
– the role of deposits in their overall funding mix;
– consumer information and switching.

The inquiry will also be considering how banks and other financial institutions compete with each other, and the potential for entry by new competitors. The ACCC also seeks views which are relevant to understanding and assessing the nature and extent of this competition.

In conducting this inquiry, the ACCC will be consulting with financial regulators, including the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The ACCC is calling for submissions by 19 May 2023. Submissions can be made by emailing fscompetition@accc.gov.au

About Adam Nobel

CEO | Principal
M. Bus, Grad Dip Adv, B.Int Bus, LREA


0417 007 001

Adam is the founder and Principal of Hugo Alexander Property Group. With a previous career in advertising, 22 years experience in property investment, and 16 years in Brisbane real estate, he knows the market inside out to ensure his clients grow their wealth faster.

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