Treasurer Jim Chalmers has authorised the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate whether the banking sector has fairly distributed interest rate hikes to savings customers.
The treasurer said he fears savings rate does not reflect the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) changes to the cash rate, which most recently rose for an eighth consecutive month to 3.1 per cent.
“This is an issue I’ve asked the ACCC to take a closer look at this year,” Treasurer Chalmers said in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.
“Banks should treat their customers fairly when it comes to savings accounts.”
The treasurer urged savings customers to consider their financial position and explore better offerings from competing banks across the sector.
“People who rely on their savings bore the brunt of very low rates in the past and they should see the benefits of higher rates now — it should be the silver lining in all of this,” he added.
“If your bank isn’t giving you a fair deal, I’d encourage you to look around for a better offer.
“With the Consumer Data Right rolled out across the banking sector, it’s easier than ever to find the best deal for you.”
The RBA is tipped to action at least two additional hikes to the cash rate before suspending its monetary policy tightening strategy.
Some analysts are expecting the cash rate to hit 3 per cent by September in a bid to curb elevated inflation.
The RBA is scheduled to hold its next monetary policy board meeting on Tuesday, 7 February.