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Credit crunch makes its mark on the base rate reaction

Credit crunch makes its mark on the base rate reaction

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 31/10/2008
First Published: 14/12/2007

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date. comments on the changes so far in the mortgage and savings market following last week's surprise 0.25% reduction in base rate:


  • 31 mortgage providers have announced changes to their standard variable rate (SVR)
  • Six mortgage providers have reduced their SVR by less than the 0.25% base rate reduction
  • Again, some of the larger mortgage lenders, Abbey, Cheltenham & Gloucester, Halifax, Nationwide, NatWest / Royal Bank of Scotland and Woolwich have been the fastest to react. Take a look at our Mortgage best buys to see how they stack up.

Mortgage rates have moved at a similar pace to the last two rate increases in July and May, where we saw 31 and 37 announcements within the first week. But compare this to the last time we saw rates fall back in August 2005, where 46 mortgage lenders had made an announcement; the rate of change now appears to be relatively slow. It's pleasing to see that, with the exception of six of the rate changes, the remainder have been the full 0.25% reduction.


  • 12 savings account providers have announced rate reductions across their entire variable rate savings account range, 4 have amended the majority of savings products while a further 11 have amended at least one of their savings accounts (typically those linked to base rate)
  • Most changes tend to be the full 0.25% reduction
  • Heritable bucks the trend raising its savings accounts rates by up to 0.20%!

Compared with July and May rate rises, where 20 and 24 providers respectively announced savings account rate changes within the first week, with only 12 so far, this is surprisingly slow. Typically we may expect savers to see their rates cut faster than they rise, but so far this is certainly not the case.

Bucking the trend, Heritable Bank has announced an increase in its savings accounts rates by up to 0.20%, securing it a strong hold position in the savings accounts best buys, especially when we consider that so few other rates have reduced.

Perhaps savings account providers are prepared to absorb some of the cost of the rate reduction and are prepared to maintain rates at their current level in an attempt to secure savers funds. Or it could simply be an issue of timing. Although this latest reduction was foreseen, its timing was a little earlier than many expected. It is also the end of financial account year for many, and with Christmas less than two weeks away, perhaps they don't want to be branded as the Christmas scrooges!

With the financial markets still unsettled and dealing with the ongoing credit crisis, it is no surprise that the market seems to also be reacting differently to this base rate move. Historically we have taken it for granted that virtually all banks and building societies will move their savings and mortgage standard variable rates. But the early signs may indicate this may not be the case this time.

This is not the time to be shopping around for a new savings deal. Wait until the market has settled in the New Year.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.