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ANZ and CBA lift home loan rates

Commonwealth Bank and ANZ have become the latest major banks to lift their home loan interest rates, with both institutions blaming rising international borrowing costs.

ANZ announced on Thursday that it will hike its standard variable rate by 0.16 percentage points, citing higher funding costs but saying the increase will not apply to drought-affected regional customers.

CBA followed soon after with a 0.15 percentage point increase to its standard variable rate.

The banks' move follows Westpac announcing a lift in its home loan rate on August 29.

ANZ's higher rates will take effect from September 27, the bank said, and will take its residential principal-and-interest rate to 5.36 per cent.

Commonwealth Bank's increase will take effect on October 4 with the standard rate for owner-occupier borrowers rising to 5.37 per cent a year.

UBS analysts said ANZ is putting up rates twice as much as needed to cover its wholesale funding costs.

"If wholesale funding costs remain at current levels we estimate it will cost ANZ approximately $150 million pre-tax," the UBS team said in a research note.

"However, we estimate ANZ's mortgage repricing is almost twice that large at around $300 million pre-tax.

"We continue to believe that there is a risk the government or the opposition may look to raise the bank levy."

RateCity research director Sally Tindall said the banks' decision to hike rates on the heels of Westpac was a "predictable step in what is becoming a well-worn routine".

"NAB would do well to break free of tradition and find a different way to wear the additional expense," she said.

CBA group executive Angus Sullivan said the decision, which was released within minutes of ANZ's move, came "after careful consideration".

"We are very conscious of the impact that increasing interest rates will have on our customers, however, it is important that we price our home loan products in a way that reflects underlying costs," he said.

Mr Sullivan said CBA had absorbed higher funding costs for the past six months.

"Unfortunately, the costs have remained high and it is now expected that they will remain elevated for the foreseeable future," he said in a statement.

ANZ's Australian group executive Fred Ohlsson said the rate rise was "a difficult decision".

"We know the impact rising interest rates have on family budgets," he said.

"The reality is it is more expensive for us to fund our home loans on wholesale markets and we also needed to balance the needs of all stakeholders."

ANZ said it will not increase mortgage rates for its customers in drought-declared parts of regional Australia - a move that will protect about 70,000 borrowers from the increase.

The round of rate rises - which have also been made by Suncorp - comes despite the Reserve Bank this week once more holding the cash rate at a record low 1.5 per cent.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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