Treasurer warns banks on rates

Two days ago Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan defended rate rises, laying the blame at the US sub-prime crisis. Now he is warning them against profit taking.

The ANZ yesterday became the second bank to lift its variable home loan rate, increasing it by 0.2% to 8.77%. The rise follows the 0.12% increase announced last week by the NAB to 8.69%.

“Customers will want to know why the ANZ’s hike was almost twice the NAB rise announced last week, and that’s a fair question,” Swan says. “I would also point out that any excessive rises will not be viewed favourably by the Government or by Australian families, who can vote with their feet in a competitive banking market.”

Swan has also called senior economic officials to a meeting in Brisbane tomorrow for a briefing on the economic outlook as concerns about a possible US recession grow.

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