Two lenders cut fixed rates near 'record lows'

A broking group has claimed fixed rates are falling to "record lows" as two lenders dramatically trim their fixed offerings




A broking group has claimed fixed rates are falling to "record lows" as two lenders dramatically trim their fixed offerings.
Westpac has announced a two-year fixed rate of 4.99%. The rate is a 40bp reduction, and is effective from today. 
The move comes as the bank's subsidiary, St. George, also announced fixed rate cuts.
St. George announced cuts to its entire fixed rate suite, trimming the one, three, four and five-year rates on its Advantage Package. The cuts take the lender's one-year rate to 5.15%, its three-year to 5.29%, its four-year to 5.64% and its five-year rate to 5.69%.
Loan Market spokesman Paul Smith said the rates were near record lows.
“We haven’t seen fixed rate this low in several years and the spread between them and variable remains in the unique position where variable are nearly a full per cent higher,” he said.
Both banks have made the moves following the RBA's decision on Tuesday to leave the official cash rate untouched. But Westpac's Danny Johns told Australian Broker the fixed rate cuts aren't indicative of a reaction to the RBA.
"Fixed rates are financed a different way. They do tend to follow the yield curve. Timing-wise, you might say that since it's the same week as the RBA announcement it's a great connection, but that's not necessarily true because we're looking at the market all the time," Johns said.
Johns said the decision was made independent of the RBA's course of action.
"We thought there was a great chance to offer something to customers as they kickstart the New Year. We're looking at the wider market from that perspective rather than the narrow view of what the RBA is doing."
Regardless, Westpac general manager of mortgage broker distribution Tony MacRae said the rate would provide stability for borrowers uncertain about the direction of variable rates.
“As our customers and mortgage broker partners have seen in this volatile and highly competitive market, interest rates move around a lot and for those home owners who are looking for security and peace of mind about their loans and monthly repayments this offer delivers both for a significant period of time," MacRae said.

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