CBA defends savings rates as ACCC launches bank deposit inquiry

“We have tried to strike the right balance across a range of different products. That doesn’t mean to say – nor has it ever been the case – that every product attracts the same interest rate,” Comyn said.

Comyn said he expected the ACCC to look at the various offers in the market, including promotional deals where new customers received higher interest rates.

 Treasurer Jim Chalmers has ordered an inquiry to “shine a light” on the retail deposit market.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has ordered an inquiry to “shine a light” on the retail deposit market.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“It’s not unusual in many industries and markets for there to be a lot of competition for new customers, there are examples of that in banking, in this case deposits,” Comyn said.

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said deposits were an important source of income for many people, especially retirees, and the probe would also look at how customers could potentially benefit from switching banks.

Comyn pushed back against suggestions banks were faster to raise their lending rates when interest rates were rising, but slower to increase deposit rates. He said throughout rate changes in the past few years, it took “broadly between 10 and 15 days” for pricing changes to be passed on to loans or deposits.

The profit results from CBA showed the bank’s margins had widened sharply in the six months to December, primarily as a result of rising interest rates.


Comyn said household spending would come under pressure this year, as consumers adjusted to the sharp jump in interest rates and $96 billion in ultra-cheap fixed-rate loans expire. But overall, he expected a “soft landing” for the economy.

The proportion of CBA borrowers who were three months or more behind on their repayments was at a record low, but Comyn said mortgage arrears were likely to climb as more customers felt the pinch of higher interest rates and inflation.

“We recognise that of course the prospect of higher rates is a source of worry and concern for many of our customers,” Comyn said.

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