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Major U.S. banks lower benchmark interest rates following Fed rate cut

Major U.S. banks lower benchmark interest rates following Fed rate cut
FILE PHOTO: A J.P. Morgan logo is seen in New York City, U.S., January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith/File Photo -
Stephanie Keith(Reuters)
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By Elizabeth Dilts

NEWYORK (Reuters) – Major U.S. banks lowered their benchmark rates for a wide range of consumer and commercial loans on Wednesday, following a rate cut from the Federal Reserve.

Starting on Aug. 1, JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N>, Citigroup <C.N> and Wells Fargo & Co <WFC.N> said they will reduce rates by 25 basis points to 5.25%.

The banks use different names, with Citi calling this its “base rate,” and JPMorgan and Wells Fargo referring to it as a “prime rate.”

However, lowering this benchmark rate means lower interest rates on loans that are based off the Fed’s main short-term rate. The move could result in lower revenues for the banks in the coming quarters.

Earlier on Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve cut the overnight lending rate to a target range of 2.00% to 2.25% due to concerns about the global economy and muted U.S. inflation.

The U.S. central bank signalled a readiness to lower borrowing costs further if needed.

Although banks were expected to lower rates in line with the Fed, the moves were notable because rates had been rising for more than a decade.

The last time JPMorgan reduced its prime rate was in December 2008, when it cut the rate to 3.25% from 4%. The bank maintained a 3.25% prime lending rate for the next seven years, eventually raising it to 3.5% in December 2015.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler, Matthew Lewis and Chris Reese)

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