Xinja turns away new customers as RBA rate cut bites

Xinja turns away new customers as RBA rate cut bites

Australia's Xinja Bank is turning away new customers wanting to take advantage of its 2.25% interest-bearing Stash savings account following an RBA rate cut on Tuesday.

The unusual decision to freeze new account openings comes as the app-only challenger weighs up the costs of serving an account which has already attracted $350 million in deposit inflows.

Unlike its rival neobanking peers, Xinja has yet to offer any credit or loan products, so the RBA's 0.25 percentage cut makes the app-only bank's Stash account an expensive inducement, costing somewhere in the range of $7.5 million a year just to keep afloat.

CEO Eric Wilson, says: "The RBA rate cut makes it more expensive for Xinja to hold deposits at the same rate before the launch of our lending programme; there has been an unprecedented uptake of Xinja Bank by Australians; and now, how we - as a new bank - manage the costs of those deposits."

Xinja - which yesterday opened a Series D round to larger investors - is doing its best to put a positive spin on the decision.

“As always, Xinja wants to break the traditional banking model,” says Xinja Bank chief executive and founder Eric Wilson. “When faced with higher than expected deposit flows, and an RBA rate cut, most banks would just drop deposit interest rates, hurting existing customers while chasing new ones. That’s not what Xinja is about."

Wilson accepts that the rate will come up for review, especially with the Reserve Bank hinting that a further cut may be needed in April.

“Managing those costs as a new bank in a way that cares about existing customers means pushing the pause button on opening new Stash accounts for a while," he says. “When we make new Stash accounts available again, new customers who have only a transaction account will get first access."

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