This week in banking - fixed rate cut frenzy and 5 other things you don’t want to miss!

Polly Fleeting

Friday 03 April 2020

  • Aussie lenders turning their attention to fixed rates post emergency RBA cut 
  • The government drops $130 billion subsidy for businesses and banks extend business loan repayment relief 
  • Savings rates: where are they at now? 
  • Judo Bank increases 6 month term deposit rate to market leading number 
  • First Home Loan Deposit Scheme applicants get more support from the government amid COVID-19 outbreak 
  • Need a new savings account for your rainy day fund? Here’s how to find the right one for you! 

All in this week’s banking recap.

Lenders are slashing fixed rates! Why most are leaving variable rates as they are 

In March, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) made cuts to its official cash rate twice in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, and attention has turned to fixed home loan rates

According to the Mozo database, the majority of home loan lenders who have dropped rates since the latest RBA rate cut have lowered their fixed rates, while only a small bunch have made changes to their variable rate offerings. 

Amongst the lenders who have slashed rates, last week popular online bank ING dropped its 2 year fixed rate to 2.09% (3.77% comparison rate*) - the joint lowest fixed rate for borrowers not looking for a clean energy loan.

Mozo’s Banking Expert, Peter Marshall, says this is to be expected in a low interest environment, especially considering the government funds available to banks over the next 3 years. He also predicts that fixed interest rates will drop below 2.00% in the near future. 

Read full article: Fixed rate cut frenzy! Why most lenders aren't slashing variable rates to find out what else Peter Marshall had to say about lowering fixed mortgage rates. 

Government assists businesses with $130 billion subsidy and banks extend repayment relief on 30,000 business loans 

The devastating effects of the spread of COVID-19 across Australia are unravelling and the RBA agree that unemployment will continue to surge as the crisis continues.

On Monday, the Federal Government announced the JobSeeker Scheme - a $130 subsidy to help businesses keep employees. From 1 May 2020 (but backdated to 1 March 2020), the scheme will give businesses up to $1,500 per employee to be paid on a fortnightly basis. 

Aussie banks have also made a move this week, with the Australia Banking Association (ABA) announcing that a further 30,000 businesses will be able to defer business loan repayments under its Small Business Relief Package. 

According to the ABA, this will provide cover for 98% of businesses with a loan from an Aussie bank. 

Read full article: Government unveils $130 billion subsidy to businesses to help keep workers employed for more information on what the JobSeeker Scheme will mean forAustralians and our economy. 

Savers! Here’s a snapshot of savings accounts interest rates post emergency RBA cut 

While two rate cuts in a month may be great for Aussie borrowers, for savers relying on bonus interest rates it’s not the same story. In fact, according to Mozo’s latest data, the average ongoing interest rate across all savings accounts is now a low 0.85%. 

Previously, the highest ongoing bonus rate sat at 2.25%, offered by neobanks 86 400 and Up - however now the joint maximum ongoing rate sits at 2.00% and is not only offered by these new banks, but also Bank of Queensland, MOVE Bank and MyStateBank. 

On the flip side, AMP boosted its Saver Account introductory rate by 54 basis points, popping it at the joint top rate of 2.65% (along with Macquarie Bank).  

Read full article: Savings account snapshot: All the recent rate changes you'll want to know about for an in-depth run down of which providers are offering hot rates. 

Judo hikes up 6 month term deposit rate and comes out on top 

On Monday, Judo Bank decided to increase its six month term deposit rate to 2.12%, making it the highest six month term deposit rate in the Mozo database. 

The 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Award winner joined a number of other banks who also took this action in response to the latest emergency rate cut made by the RBA. 

While there are both benefits and pitfalls to term deposits, Judo Bank’s rates speak for themselves as it now offers between 2.05% and 2.15% across its three month to five year terms (which is higher than a big bunch of savings accounts). 

Along with Rabobank, who offers an impressive 2.25% rates on its five year term, Judo is part of the exclusive club that offers long term rates of at least 2.00%. 

Read full article: Judo Bank unveils market leading 6 month term deposit rate of 2.12% to find out what the rest of the market has done

Government lends a hand to First Home Loan Deposit Scheme application during Coronavirus auction ban

With the new year came a new government scheme to help assist first home buyers in securing a home loan and cracking into the property market: the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.

But the new year also brought the COVID-19, which saw the ban of auctions due to strict social distancing regulations. 

However, the Federal Government has extended the loan approval period by an additional 3 months for first home buyers under the scheme. 

The extension given by the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) allows the 27 participating lenders to give borrowers 180 days to secure a property from approval, instead of just 90 days.  

As of the end of last month, over 4,700 of the 7,661 approved applicants of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme have still yet to find a home. 

Read full article: Government extends support to First Home Loan Deposit Scheme applicants amid coronavirus auction ban to check out what NHFIC Chief Executive, Nathatn Dal Bon said about the extension. 

Planning for a rainy day? Here’s where to stash your cash 

With the financial turbulence that has come with recent world events, it’s safe to say you’re likely not alone in feeling anxious about your rainy day fund. 

Savings rates are copping strike after strike as the RBA official cash rate continues to plummet, so now may be the perfect time to see if you are getting the most out of the savings account you currently have.  

Whether you’re more of a sit back and relax ‘passive saver’ or the hardcore regular depositor type, there’s a product that may suit your style better. 

Here’s a few to consider: 

  • Bonus rate savings account: Get rewarded for making regular deposits by receiving a bonus rate on top of a base rate (remember, deposit and spending conditions differ between accounts). 
  • No-string savings account: These accounts come with no conditions so you don’t need to lift a finger, however interest rates tend to be lower.  
  • Introductory savings account: To receive some of the most competitive rates, an introductory rate could be the way to do it. Just bear in mind, these rates are only ‘introductory’ so the rate will revert to a lower base rate after a certain period of time.  

Read full article: Need a change of scenery for your rainy day fund? Here's how to choose a savings account that's right for you for all the top rates across providers on the Mozo database. 

Want to check out some savings accounts to stash your cash? Take a look at the table below or jump over to our April 2020 Financial Checklist for ways to make the most out of your money moves this month!

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