Wellington, Feb 3 NZPA - Finance Minister Bill English's office has failed to move Kiwibank over its high fixed-term mortgage break fees.
Last week Mr English said the state-owned bank could expect a call after reports put its fee higher than some other banks.
Mr English today told reporters he had not talked directly to the bank, but his office had.
"I think (they got) a similar response to what they've been giving publicly, that this is a contractual arrangement and when people enter into it they know what happens if they are going to change it."
Mr English said consumers would apply pressure.
"We weren't targeting Kiwibank in particular. I think customers are going to put a lot of pressure on banks to see who is going to meet their needs in an environment that's pretty volatile."
The official cash rate (OCR) was reduced from 5 percent to 3.5 percent last week. That was followed by rapid falls in floating interest rates and new fixed rates have meant many mortgage holders were left locked into higher payments.
Kiwibank spokesman Bruce Thompson previously said it did not intend to lower fees because they reflected the cost to the bank.
"These are not estimated costs or costs which the bank is looking at making additional income...these are actual costs that the bank incurs."
Mr Thompson said that while Kiwibank's break rates were based on wholesale rates and were therefore higher than retail rates, its interest rate was lower than other banks.
Westpac spokesman Craig Dowling said his bank's high mortgage break rates reflected the high costs facing the bank when a client broke a mortgage.
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