Greens aim to stop bank rate hikes

The Australian Greens have announced proposals to stop the banks from lifting home loan rates above the Reserve Bank's (RBA) cycle.

Speaking to ABC Radio, Greens leader Bob Brown said the party planned to introduce separate bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate that would enforce a cap on independent bank interest rate rises.

The move comes after all of Australia's "big four" banks opted to increase interest rates by more than the RBA's official 0.25 per cent hike, announced earlier this month. Such rises could prompt more bank customers to compare home loans in search of better deals.

Mr Brown claimed that the banks were putting undue pressure on their mortgage and small business customers by enforcing such hikes.

"It's gotten out of hand, it seems whatever the banks want they're doing," he said.

However, speaking in response to the Greens' proposed legislation, treasurer Wayne Swan told ABC Radio it would have damaging consequences.

"If you do what they want you'll end up rationing credit and a lot of people will miss out," he said.

Mr Swan added that rather than supporting the bills, the government would proceed with its own agenda of banking reforms.

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