Banks lag on passing interest rate cuts to business loans

Home owners may have breathed a sigh of relief this past weekend after three of the major banks passed on a rate cut last Friday, but business owners have received mixed messages on whether they’ll receive any benefit.

And business leaders aren’t happy.

While the Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac have lowered rates for home owners, two of those three haven’t passed on benefits to business loans.

ANZ is set to make its decision this Friday.

The Commonwealth Bank confirmed with SmartCompany this morning its 20 basis point cut did not apply to business loans, saying these remained “under review”.

Westpac also said its 18 basis point move did not apply to business loans.

NAB was the only one of the three banks to pass on its 20 basis point cut to “standard variable business rate lending products”, effective from today.

ANZ is set to make its decision on Friday, as per its usual schedule.

Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business of Australia, says while the banks have their own pressures, they need to understand what it’s like to be in small businesses without boards or any other sources of advice.

“When you’re on a small business, you don’t have a board of directors to discuss things with, you run on confidence. And that comes from your suppliers – the banks are your suppliers.”

“Their tardiness is not good for confidence. They need to understand that SMEs run on confidence, and they want to know what’s going on so they can make future business decisions.”

The banks’ delay when it comes to business loans echoes last week’s few days of silence after the RBA announcement, when no major institution made a statement about passing the cut on to home owners.

Many economists now expect another rate cut before the end of the year, after the RBA made the decision to cut the official cash rate last week.




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