The ACCC will investigate how banks set interest rates for savers, including differences in interest rate increases between bank deposits and home loans after the Federal Government directed the ACCC to commence an inquiry into Australia’s retail deposit market.
“We welcome this direction from the Government to shine a light on the retail deposit market and rate-setting decisions of banks” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.
“We are aware that deposit and savings accounts are an important source of income for many Australians, typically supplementing their income from employment, superannuation and the pension.”
Australian households together hold more than $1.3 trillion in savings and deposit accounts.
As the cash rate target set by the Reserve Bank of Australia has increased from 0.1% to 3.35%, in most cases banks have fully passed through the cash rate target increases to their home loan interest rates.
However, the increases in interest rates on deposit products appear to have typically been smaller and less consistent. In many cases, banks have only applied increases in the cash rate to some of their deposit products, often with conditions attached.
“We will also examine the extent to which consumers can benefit from shopping around and switching, and what other barriers are stopping consumers from seeking a better return on their savings,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.
In undertaking this inquiry, the ACCC will consult closely with financial regulators, including the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The ACCC is expected to release an issues paper in the coming months, and is directed to report to the Treasurer by 1 December 2023.
More information is available at: Retail deposits inquiry.
Notes to editors
Under Part VIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act, the Treasurer can direct the ACCC to hold a price inquiry into a specified matter.
By holding an inquiry under Part VIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act, the ACCC can use compulsory information-gathering powers to gather information from financial institutions including their decision making documents.