West Bromwich sets precedent as savings account rate falls to 0%

12 January 2009 / by Rebecca Sargent
West Bromwich has done what experts feared would happen as it cut the interest rate on its bonus saver account to zero per cent when the bonus of two per cent is not earned.

And, according to reports, West Bromwich building society made the rate cut before the Bank of England's latest decision to cut base rate by a further 0.5 per cent to an all time low of 1.5 per cent, suggesting that other financial institutions will soon follow suit.

Nevertheless, the news has come as no surprise as since the first interest rate cut in October, banks and building societies have been quick to slash rates on their savings accounts.

Figures compiled by Moneyfacts.co.uk show that since December's rate cut of one per cent, 77 per cent of providers have announced saving rate cuts, the majority of which have been the full cut.

The financial information site has been recording savings rates since 1988, and following the latest cut, predicts that the average savings account rate will drop to the lowest level ever seen.

Commenting, Michelle Slade, analyst at Moneyfacts.co.uk said: "With so many accounts now paying such low rates and the number likely to increase, savers really need to make sure they review the rate they are getting."

However there are still a few accounts offering interest rates well above the average of 1.48 per cent (according to Moneyfacts.co.uk), such as the Alliance & Leicester eSaver offering 3.6 per cent and the Abbey Instant Access Saver offering 3.5 per cent.

There are also some good fixed rate savings rates on the market for those who can afford to put their money away and not make any withdrawals, including the Halifax International Regular Saver which is offering a rate of 6.0% fixed for 12 months.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd