ASIC takes aim at banks who rely on fine print Product disclosures contained in ‘fine print’ at the bottom of advertisements and promotions for financial products such as loans, accounts and cards don’t work and don’t protect consumers said the Deputy Chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Karen Chester. Recent research by ASIC found that disclosure statements and key fact sheets are ineffective and actually harmed consumers. Fine print disclosure had “backfired” and had proved to be “an enabler of poor conduct” by banks, insurance companies, superannuation providers and advisers, said Ms Chester. Financial institutions should be “very conscious of what sludge they’re imposing on consumers and really get rid of unnecessary product complexity.” Bonus savings account rates crashing ANZ, NAB and some smaller institutions have cut interest rates on their bonus savings accounts in recent days. ANZ cut the bonus rate on its Progress Saver account from 1.85 to 1.60 per cent pa with the base rate remaining at 0.01 per cent. NAB cut the bonus rate on its Reward Saver account from 1.86 to 1.61 per cent pa with the base rate set at 0.11 per cent. 86 400 and UP cut their maximum bonus savings account rates from 2.5 per cent to 2.25 per cent. Intro savings account rates falling down fast Introductory rate savings account rates are falling fast. Introductory rate savings accounts offer a high advertised interest rate for a honeymoon introductory period (usually three or four months) then revert to a base rate. ANZ Online Saver’s three-month introductory rate has been cut 0.25 percentage points to 1.6 per cent pa with an ongoing base rate of 0.1 per cent pa. NAB iSaver’s four-month introductory rate has been cut 0.25 percentage points to 1.86 per cent pa with a base rate of 0.11 per cent. CBA Netbank Saver’s five-month introductory rate has been cut 0.35 percentage points to 1.65 per cent, reverting to a base rate of 0.1 per cent. Frydenberg rules out new banking laws The treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the new ACCC inquiry into pricing by banks and lenders in the home loan market announced yesterday would not lead to a higher tax on banks or laws requiring the banks to pass on rate cuts. The inquiry is about “getting under the hood” to find out why the banks did not pass on the full amount of the RBA’s recent rate cuts to their borrower customers. “The Australian public is sick and tires of the merry dance where the RBA has cut rates three times, the government and the RBA itself have called on the banks to pass them on and the banks have just ignored that advice.” The Australian Bankers Association said the inquiry was a good opportunity to explain to Australians how banks need to balance the interests of borrowers with the interest of shareholders and depositors. Banks need big profits says Westpac Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer said the new ACCC inquiry into pricing in the home loan market will give banks the chance to “put the facts on the table around mortgage pricing.” Mr Hartzer warned that banks need to make profits to support shareholder investment and maintain good credit ratings. “Westpac must also retain its AA rating,” said Mr Hartzer, “To lose it would increase the cost of our wholesale funding which would inevitably lead to higher interest rates for our borrowers.” NAB helps customers tackle cybercriminals National Australia Bank (NAB) is embarking on an educational roadshow to help small business protect themselves and their customers from the threat of hacking and ID theft from online cyber criminals. NAB executive Anthony Healy said half of all cybercrime is targeted at small business. “We see hundreds of small businesses and agribusinesses every year who are unfortunately targeted by cyber criminals through identity theft, romance scams and invoice fraud. NAB will also offer its 400,000 small business customers the Cisco Umbrella cloud security platform at a discounted price. NAB cuts home loan rates National Australia Bank’s October mortgage rate cuts came into effect yesterday (14th October 2019). National Australia Bank’s base variable home loan rate (OO, P&I) is now 3.20 per cent pa (comparison rate 3.24 per cent pa) on LVRs of 80% or less. For loans over 80% LVR, the new NAB variable rate is 3.40 per cent pa (comparison rate 3.44 per cent pa). For investors, NAB has advertised variable rates starting at 4.22 per cent pa (comparison rate 4.26 per cent pa). NAB’s Choice package home loan rates start at 3.87 per cent pa (comparison rate 4.28 per cent pa).