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In reaction to the speculation that the official cash rate and OCR may drop below zero in the months to come and the bid to win the business of Kiwi home buyers as the country recovers from COVID-19, we've seen the banks enter what looks like an interest rate war.
In fact, just last week ASB made the move to offer a record-breaking low two-year fixed rate of 2.69%, and Kiwi Bank responded to the forecast change by offering a one-year rate of 2.65%. These rates have literally never been seen before, even considering back in '08 after the GFC when interest rates plummeted by around 3% (from 8.6% to 5.9% fixed) the competitive and reactive environment we're witnessing now is utterly unprecedented.
So what's the reasoning behind the extremely low interest rates and New Zealand Bank wars? Well, ASB executive manager of retail banking, Craig Sims, stated;
"This has been a difficult time for a lot of our customers. While we have put in place a number of support...