Back in those distant days before Gordon Brown, when Chancellors of the Exchequer did more or less what they liked with interest rates (aided in the latter stages by three "wise men" and finally the governor of the Bank of England) there used to be a drama about what the mortgage lenders would do after each change.
They usually followed the Chancellor's lead, though not always by the full amount.
Sometimes they favoured home-buyers at the expense of savers, occasionally savers at the expense of home-buyers. One or more of them might take advantage of the confusion to widen their margins by a notch.
Nearly always when interest rates went up, they raised the rate they charged borrowers then waited a week or two before passing any of the proceeds on to their savers. If you watched what they got up to closely, it was actually quite interesting. In the end so many people were watching that the banks and building s ocieties became more circumspect.
This weekend it suddenly looked as if they might try something interesting again. None of them said a word about mortgages when the Bank raised its rate last Thursday. They kept stumm all Friday, then all Monday, too. They were all waiting for one of the others to jump first. Specifically, the others were hesitating to go out on a limb until they saw what Halifax did - with more than one in five of all the outstanding mortgages.
Halifax, though, was disinclined to take the lead. In the end Northern Rock tired of the pussy-footing and passed the Bank's quarter-point on to its standard variable rate in full. Halifax promptly did like-wise. No doubt the rest will follow in a day or two.
No doubt, too, they will follow the squeaky clean examples of Northern Rock and Halifax by applying the increase here and now only to new mortgages. Some of the rest will follow at the start of next month, along with whatever extra is paid to the lucky lenders. There are a lot of them, remember, with a lot of money - nearly £200 billion in cash ISA accounts alone. Interest rates cut both ways.
Yet by no means every home-buyer will pay any more. More than two-thirds of all the new mortgages in June were fixed-rate deals. There were more still in May - and early this year there was a glorious moment when you could get a fixed-rate mortgage at no extra cost at all. The market had temporarily lost its wits and longterm money was cheaper than short.
No end of shrewd home-buyers nipped in to remortgage while the going was good and can now congratulate themselves.
The growing popularity of fixed-rate mortgages in recent years will blunt the impact of higher interest rates on the housing market - and on the wider economy because they protect the spending power of their owners.
The flip side of this is that the Bank may feel that its medicine is not working fast enough and apply a second dose.
City markets, indeed, are already factoring in another quarter-point increase to make the official rate five per cent.