Mortgage broker: Banks will pass on full OCR cut

Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler looks during his cash rate announcement (Getty)
Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler looks during his cash rate announcement (Getty)

Kiwibank and Westpac are the latest banks to cut floating mortgage rates after yesterday's surprise Official Cash Rate (OCR) cut.

Kiwibank has reduced its variable home loan rate by 0.20 percent to 5.45 percent and interest rates for its three, four and five-year fixed mortgages.

Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler's decision to cut the OCR by 0.25 percent to a record low of 2.25 percent caught markets by surprise.

Mr Wheeler told a select committee hearing that he expected the trading banks to pass the full savings onto customers and while the Co-operative Bank did, the major trading banks have been slow to do so.

The country's largest mortgage lender ANZ cut its floating rates by 0.10 percent.

ANZ says rising costs are the reason it has not passed on the full 25 basis point cut in the OCR.

Westpac today has also reduced its floating rate by 0.10 percent, saying the "adjustment follows yesterday's OCR cut but also reflects elevated funding costs due to financial market volatility."

Reserve Bank officials told MPs that they did not think rising costs were a reason for the banks not to cut floating rates.

Will the other banks move?

No sign of movement yet from the BNZ and ASB.

However, Bruce Patten, a mortgage adviser with Loan Market, told Radio Live's James Coleman that he believes the major banks will cut their floating rates by the full 25 basis points.

"I think you will find the other banks will move on the 25 basis points, and then ANZ will follow."

The situation for fixed rates is not so clear. Mr Patten says "it's a bit of a waiting game on the fixed rates."

Mr Patten says the cost of borrowing money offshore is rising. He thinks the lower OCR might be a "buffer" that prevents the trading banks from lifting some fixed rates.

He also thinks that home owners might see some more special fixed interest rates that are below four percent.

Rates likely to stay lower for longer

Mr Patten believes another major development yesterday was that the Reserve Bank has changed its thinking about how long it will be before rates start to rise again.

Previously RBNZ had indicated it would be 2017, but Mr Patten says it now looks like it won't happen until 2018.

OCR by 1.75pct by Christmas?

Economists at ANZ are predicting the OCR will be 1.75 percent by Christmas.

Chief Economist Cameron Bagrie thinks the next cut will happen around the middle of the year, with another towards the end of the year.

He says the commercial banks' rising funding costs are one of the reasons for this.

He says if the banks are unable to pass on the full cut in the OCR to their borrowers then it increases the chances the RBNZ will have to make further cuts to the OCR.