For new borrowers, home loan rates will be automatically reset either yearly or every six months
Vivina Vishwanathan | Last Modified: Mon, Apr 04 2016. 10 30 PM IST | LiveMint
State Bank of India (SBI), India’s largest lender, was the first to announce the new marginal cost-based lending rate (MCLR), on 1 April 2016. This is the new benchmark lending rate and it replaces the base rate for new borrowers. SBI has introduced seven MCLRs for periods ranging between overnight and three years. While MCLR will be the benchmark rate for new borrowers, for existing borrowers, the base rate regime will continue.
Here’s what the new rate means, and how it affects you.
What is MCLR?
MCLR is the new benchmark lending rate at which banks will now lend to new borrowers. Till 31 March 2016, banks used the base rate as the benchmark rate to lend.
MCLR is built on four components—marginal cost of funds, negative carry on account of cash reserve ratio (CRR), operating costs and tenor premium.
Marginal cost of funds is the marginal cost of borrowing and return on net worth for banks. The operating cost includes cost of providing the loan product including cost of raising funds. Tenor premium arises from loan commitments with longer tenors. According to brokerage and investment group CLSA, the source of funding for a bank is based on actual domestic funding mix. MCLR is closely linked to the actual deposit rates.
“If one-year term deposit is at 7.50%. Then one-year MCLR will be 7.50% plus CRR, operation cost and tenor premium,” said Ashutosh Khajuria, executive director, Federal Bank Ltd.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to set at least five MCLR rates—overnight, one month, three month, six month and one year. Besides these, banks are free to set rates for longer durations as well. The rates have to be reviewed on a monthly basis, but banks that don’t have the capacity to do monthly reviews on can do so quarterly till March 2017.
MCLR-linked loans will be reset for a maximum of one year. So, you will have a new interest rate on your home loan at a pre-decided time and for a maximum period of one year.
Banks are also allowed to determine a spread that is higher than MCLR. Depending on your credit profile, banks will decide this. “The spread will be decided based on credit risk and tenor. For credit risk, in case of an individual borrower, we will look at Cibil rating. Depending on the credit worthiness of the customer, we will set the spread above MCLR. Currently, the spread is in the range of 25-60 basis points (bps) for home loans,” K.V.S. Manian, president-corporate, institutional and investment banking, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.
Not all loans will come under this rate. For instance, loans covered by government schemes where banks have to charge interest rates as per the scheme are exempted from being linked to MCLR as the benchmark for determining interest rate.
How does it work?
If you plan to take a floating rate home loan, your loan will now be linked to MCLR. Most banks have announced five to seven rates. For home loans, banks will either use the six-month MCLR or the one-year MCLR as the benchmark rate. Therefore, from now, all floating rate loan agreements will have a reset clause at a pre-specified interval. “Banks can decide on the tenor that they want to use to reset for longer-term loans such as home loans. We have decided to reset home loan interest rates at a six-month frequency. Hence, the six-month MCLR will be applicable for home loans,” said Manian. Kotak Mahindra Bank has announced 9.40% as its six-month MCLR and the home loan will be reset every six months in case of any changes in MCLR. If you have a home loan, the bank will reset the rate automatically at a pre-specified date.
However, banks such as SBI and ICICI Bank Ltd have set one-year MCLR as the benchmark for home loans. For instance, for salaried individuals, ICICI Bank has set a floating rate home loan at one-year MCLR of 9.20% with a spread of 25 bps for loans of up to Rs.5 crore. So, the interest rate will be 9.45%. The bank’s website stated that this will be valid till 30 April 2016. Though the MCLR is reviewed monthly, your home loan will be reset every year automatically, depending on the agreement with the bank. For instance, if you take a Rs.30-lakh loan on 1 April this year, one-year MCLR is at 9.20% and spread on it is 25 bps, your home loan will be 9.45%. You will pay instalments at this rate for the next one year. If on 1 April 2017, one-year MCLR gets revised to 9.15%, your home loan interest rate will get reset at 9.40% (MCLR of 9.15% plus spread of 25 bps). Accordingly, your instalment or loan tenor may change.
According to a report by Ambit Capital Pvt. Ltd, RBI gave banks the provision of a reset period to partly smoothen the impact of changing rates on banks’ margins (as deposits re-price with a lag, reset periods allow bank to adjust the timing of loan pricing). As the concept of reset period contravenes with the RBI’s objective of quick transmission of monetary policy, the RBI has capped reset period at one year.
Though retail loans are likely to be set at six months to one-year MCLR tenors, corporate loans may be set at shorter tenors. “Due to complexity in the retail product, a pre-specified reset has been decided. When it comes to corporate loans, there is a possibility to negotiate across the multiple sets of rates that are available,” said Manian.
Can an existing borrower who is on a base rate regime move to MCLR? According to RBI, existing loans and credit limits linked to base rate will continue till repayment or renewal, and banks will have to continue publishing base rates as well. Existing borrowers can move to MCLR-linked loans at mutually acceptable terms and these loans will not be treated as foreclosure of existing facility.
What you should know
The MCLR-linked home loan rate is currently marginally lower than a base rate-linked loan. For instance, SBI was offering home loans between 9.50% and 9.55% till 31 March. From 1 April, the rate is lower by 10 bps and ranges between 9.40% and 9.45%.
According to the Ambit report, new MCLRs are not so different from base rates: “…even if benchmark rates would have fallen, the effective loan pricing for borrowers might not have changed much. This is because banks could change spreads over benchmark rates,” the report noted.
Home loan rates will now depend on the bank’s choice of reset period—six-month or one-year MCLR rate and spread rather than one common base rate and spread. According to a Centrum Broking Ltd report, while MCLR is intended to ensure effective policy transmission, past studies, including references to global banks, suggest limited rate transmission to end-user. Hence, its effectiveness in the longer run will need to be assessed, the report noted.
Existing borrowers should wait for the new system of calculation to settle before deciding to switch loans.
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