Australian banks are expected to continue increasing mortgage rates in an effort to offset the impact of increased regulatory changes and rising funding costs.
Suncorp has become the latest bank to lift rates, announcing this week that from 23 January its standard variable rate on new and existing owner-occupier home loans will increase by 15 basis points.
The bank increased its investor home loan rates by the same amount last month.
Suncorp banking and wealth CEO David Carter said the decision to increase rates was carefully considered in order to balance the needs of all stakeholders.
“Increasing competition for quality funding sources, the cost of meeting regulatory change and events overseas that have altered the outlook for interest rates globally, have led to rising funding costs,” Mr Carter said.
“The majority of bank funding is based on these factors, not the Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate.
“This has been driven in part by changes to regulation to deliver an unquestionably strong banking system, which we support, as it’s important for all Australians.
“While we have been absorbing these increasing costs, it’s evident that the trend is not likely to change. These factors are also impacting the broader industry, with many of our competitors implementing similar rate changes.”
Mr Carter announced that Suncorp will reverse recent reductions to interest rates on its 55 Plus Accounts, resulting in a 0.15 per cent p.a. increase to its middle and top rate tiers. These accounts are typically used by pensioners and self-funded retirees.
“It remains our priority to offer a range of competitive products and services to our customers and balance the needs of borrowers and savers. This includes delivering greater value by offering benefits to customers who choose to bundle their banking and insurance products,” he said.
Suncorp’s small business rates will also increase by 0.15 per cent p.a bringing the Business Essentials rate to 5.14 per cent p.a. The bank's rates for Commercial and Agribusiness customers remain unchanged.
[Related: Lender to lift investor rates on Friday]