Sunday Business Post: Fears lenders will up ECB rate hikes

Emma Kennedy wrote in the Sunday Business Post this week about rate hikes in banks going beyond the expected increases that will come from the ECB.

Irish banks could use an April hike in European interest rates as a way to improve their balance sheets, and push more homeowners into arrears, banking experts fear.
Last week, the European Central Bank indicated that interest rates could rise in April, with the market preparing for a 0.25 per cent increase. This would take rates to 1.25 per cent, after almost two years at a record low of 1 per cent. However, banking experts are predicting that banks will increase rates for mortgage customers by more than 0.25 per cent.

Karl Deeter, of Irish Mortgage Brokers, also expects banks to increase standard variable rates by more than the ECB hikes rates. He said it was likely that banks would raise rates ‘‘irrespective of what the ECB do’’, given the gap between the cost of funds that banks face and lending rates.

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