The Federal Treasurer got into the banks last week for thinking of lifting interest rates above any move from the Reserve Bank. Seeing that Macquarie and Adelaide Banks have already lifted rates for margin loans, mortgages and other products, it was very much after the event. But was there some truth in what Costello had to say about the banks and their reaction to the subprime mess in the US and associated credit freeze which have pushed up rates?

You see, there was a large element of hypocrisy in the comments from NAB CEO and Australian Bankers Association chairman John Stewart and the new CEO at the ANZ, the very English sounding Mike Smith. There they were saying rates would have to go up regardless of what the Treasurer said: it was the market you see.