The strategy of hiking floating mortgage rates in small regular increments continues with another major adding +9 bps to its rates. The separation from official and wholesale rates widens

Westpac has raised its floating rates by +9 bps to 5.84%.

This pushes them up to having the second highest floating rate in the market, behind BNZ’s 5.90%.

The last time they raised this rate was on February 28, 2017 when the hiked it by +10 bps.

There is now a very wide 35 bps difference from the highest rate in the market (BNZ) and the lowest (Kiwibank). It is unusual for pricing among home loan rivals to be this wide.

Westpac’s action today fits the recent behaviour change by banks of pushing though minor rate changes on a regular basis. It is a strategy adopted by most banks and is an effective way to avoid customer backlash.

The latest rate change takes the Westpac rate back to almost the same level it was on December 11, 2015. However, in that time the RBNZ OCR has fallen from 2.50% to 1.75%, or by -75 bps.

And over the same period, the 90 day bank bill rate has fallen from 2.75% to 1.99% today, a drop of -76 bps. The one year swap rate is -63 bps lower. The one year term deposit rate is only -16 bps lower however.

Overall, banks have $50.7 bln on floating rate terms.

Westpac has made equivalent changes for its Choices Floating, Choices Everyday, and Choices Offset accounts.

For perspective, here is the recent change history for Westpac’s floating rate product:

Westpac change history Change Floating
  % %
Start of 2016   5.85
March 10, 2016 (the -25 bps OCR reduction) 0.00 5.85
March 11, 2016 -0.10 5.75
August 12, 2016  -0.10 5.65
August 16, 2016 (the -25 bps OCR reduction) 0.00 5.65
November 22, 2016 (the -25 bps OCR reduction) 0.00 5.65
March 1, 2017 +0.10 5.75
April 6, 2017 +0.09 5.84

Westpac’s rate changes are effective for new customers on 6 April 2017, and for existing customers on 26 April 2017.

Here is a snapshot of the current floating rates by the key retail banks and their recent change history:

below 80% LVR as at
Dec 31, 16
as at
Jan 31, 17
as at
Feb 28, 17
as at
Mar 31, 17
as at
Apr 6, 17
        %  
5.59 5.69 5.69 5.79 5.79
ASB 5.65 5.80 5.80 5.80 5.80
5.64 5.79 5.79 5.90 5.90
Kiwibank 5.25 5.40 5.40 5.55 5.55
Westpac 5.65 5.65 5.65 5.75 5.84
           
5.55 5.55 5.55 5.65 5.65
HSBC 5.59 5.59 5.59 5.59 5.59
HSBC 5.59 5.54 5.54 5.79 5.79
5.54 5.54 5.54 5.65 5.65

Westpac has not made term deposit rate changes at this time.

All current mortgage rates are here.

All current term deposit rates are here and here.