By Sunil Dhawan, ET Online | Updated: Apr 05, 2018, 06.29 PM IST | Economic Times
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may have kept the repo rate unchanged at 6 percent in its first bi-monthly review for the financial year, but it would be premature for home loan borrowers to rejoice.
This is because equated monthly instalments (EMIs) on loans may still go up as some banks have already increased their marginal cost-based lending rates (MCLR) over the last month owing to rising cost of funds. Repo rate was last cut in August 2017 when it was reduced by 0.25 percent.
“In the current interest rate cycle, we have touched the lowest level and it will come as no surprise if the cycle turns. Against this background, the impetus for stimulating housing demand does not lie on interest rate alone but on other reforms and steps taken by various stakeholders. Measures such as implementation of RERA in true letter and spirit, palatable payment plans for home buyers and relatively cheaper house prices are some of the critical determinants to revive the real estate sector. Until such time the benefits of these measures percolate across markets, the sector will continue to reel under pressure,” says Shishir Baijal, Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India.
All bank loans, including home loans, taken after April 1, 2016, are linked to a bank’s MCLR and any rise in it will push the interest rate higher. As things stand today, the interest rate appears to either remain stagnant or there exists a remote possibility for them to move up in the near term. Unless liquidity in the system improves and inflation is well under RBI’s target, borrowers, both existing and new, will have to make do with a high interest rate regime.
At a home loan rate of 8.4 percent, the EMI on a Rs 1 lakh loan for 15 years comes to Rs 979. If the rate is increased by by 100 basis points (or 1 percent), the EMI will go up to Rs 1038 — a difference of Rs 59 or about 6 percent increase.
Interestingly, State Bank of India, the country’s top lender by assets, had increased its MCLR across most maturities in March. SBI also raised the 1-year MCLR to 8.15 percent from 7.95 percent, other lenders like ICICI Bank and Punjab National Bank, followed suit and raised their MCLR, albeit by a slightly lower magnitude of 15 basis points. Other banks may hike their MCLR too, and thus EMIs may rise.
When base rate fails
It is important to note that several loans taken before April 1, 2016 which are still linked to base rate are still being serviced by the borrowers. They stand to benefit only when the bank will cut its base rate. Not many banks have cut their base rate in the recent past. SBI had it by 0.30 percent on Jan 1, 2018, before this it had cut it by 0.5 percent in September 2017. Effective April 1, 2018, Allahabad Bank had cut base rate to 9.15 percent from 9.6percent and even its benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR) has been brought down to 13.40 percent from 13.85 percent.
Taking stock of the situation, RBI in its February meet had stated that, “Since MCLR is more sensitive to policy rate signals, it has been decided to harmonize the methodology of determining benchmark rates by linking the Base Rate to the MCLR with effect from April 1, 2018.”
MCLR linked home loan
Banks, however, may or may not lend at MCLR. They may ask for a spread or a mark-up or a margin. The actual home loan interest rate can be equal to the MCLR or have a ‘mark-up’ or ‘spread’, but can never be lower than the MCLR.
Note: Loans are disbursed by HDFC Ltd.
New home loan borrowers
For new home loan borrowers, it’s only the MCLR linked loans that matter. Don’t wait any longer in the hope of an interest rate cut if you are thinking of getting a loan. Instead, if you are eligible, you can opt for the benefit under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme. The deadline to avail the benefit under this scheme is March 31, 2019. Under the scheme, a credit-linked interest subsidy is given according to the applicant’s income level.
Existing home loan takers
a) Home loans linked with MCLR
As was no rate cut today, there is unlikely to be any downward pressure on MCLR. On the flip side, with banks increasing their MCLR, the possibility of home loan rates going up when the reset date arrives cannot be ruled out either. In MCLR-linked home loans, the rate is reset after 6/12 months as per the agreement between the borrower and the bank. The rate applicable on that date becomes the new rate for servicing the EMI’s.
b) Base rate home loans
Interest rates charged under the base rate system is relatively higher as compared to that under the MCLR regime. Still, if your home loan interest rate is linked to the base rate system, you might want to reconsider the option of switching to an MCLR based loan. As has been seen in the past, there has been a lag in the transmission of cut in repo rate by banks to the consumers after the central bank reduces rates. However, under the base rate system, whenever RBI had raised repo rates, the banks used to raise their base rates without any delays.
G BALACHANDAR | Published on April 04, 2018 | The Hindu Business Line
But delinquencies are also on the rise
CHENNAI: The share of home loans to THE self-employed has increased to a little less than a third of the overall housing loan portfolio of housing finance companies (HFCs) from one-fourth of the portfolio four years ago, points out a report of rating agency Crisil.
Primarily driven by the government impetus to affordable housing, there has been a big surge in the self-employed taking home loans. In the overall home loan portfolio of HFCs, the share of self-employed borrowers is about 30 per cent now when compared with about 20 per cent four years ago.
“Several initiatives of both the government and the regulator in the recent past have led to fast growth in home loans taken by the self-employed. We expect such mortgages to continue showing good growth because of the sharp focus of smaller HFCs and increasing interest of the larger ones,” said Krishnan Sitaraman, Senior Director, Crisil Ratings.
Loans to the self-employed segment have grown at a CAGR of about 33 per cent in the past four years, compared with 20 per cent for the overall home loan segment. Home loans outstanding in the self-employed segment are expected to have topped ₹2 lakh crore by the end of 2017-18. Though new, small and larger HFCs have been aggressively catering to the self-employed segment, banks are also strengthening their presence in the home loan segment due to subdued credit demand from corporates and asset quality pressures.
However, on the flipside, delinquencies are also rising in the self-employed segment. Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) in the segment are estimated to have inched up by 40 basis points to about 1.1 per cent by the end of 2017-18, compared with about 0.7 per cent a few years back. This trend, however, warrants caution because lending to the self-employed is largely based on assessed income. Additionally, a section of borrowers, who have a limited credit history or banking experience, are highly vulnerable to disruptions such as demonetisation, and see high volatility in cash flows in the event of exigency.
“The two-year lagged NPAs in the self-employed segment, at about 1.8 per cent, is much higher compared with about 0.6 per cent in the salaried segment, where the portfolio quality has remained largely stable over the years,” said Rama Patel, Director, Crisil Ratings.
Given that the self-employed segment is relatively riskier than the salaried segment, HFCs tend to demand higher yields to offset higher credit cost. Further, to surmount borrower data issues, HFCs are adopting practices such as offering lower loan-to-value ratio, higher in-house sourcing, and developing the expertise to assess un-documented income.
While financiers are adopting a risk-based pricing approach, long-term sustenance will depend on strong credit and underwriting practices, said the report.
ET CONTRIBUTORS | By Raj Khosla | Mar 12, 2018, 02.30 PM IST | Economic Times
Major banks and housing finance companies have raised their lending rates. Whenever home loan rates are hiked, borrowers want to know whether they should prepay their loans to save on interest. In the past, there was no clear answer because there were several investment opportunities that could yield better returns than the interest paid on the home loan.
Not any longer. Stock markets are looking jittery, fixed deposits are tax-inefficient and debt funds are giving poor returns. If a penny saved is a penny earned, prepaying a home loan may be the best investment option available. Where else can you get 8.5% assured ‘returns’ on the surplus cash? Another compelling reason to rework the math and at least partially repay your home loan is the new tax rule that caps the deduction on home loans at Rs 2 lakh a year. If you have a large home loan running, you would do well to make partial prepayments as soon as you can.
There are some obvious benefits of foreclosing a long-term loan. The longer the tenure, the higher is the interest outgo. Just like long-term investments build wealth for you, longterm debt burdens you with high interest. Yet, a long-term loan may be unavoidable in some circumstances. A young person who has just started working may not be able to afford a large EMI. The loan tenure would have to be increased so that the EMI fits his pocket.
In such situations, borrowers are advised to go for a ballooning repayment, where the EMI increases every year in line with an increase in the income. This can have a dramatic impact on the loan tenure. If you take a home loan of Rs 50 lakh at 8.5% for 20 years, the EMI will be Rs 43,391. But a 5% increase in the EMI every year will end the loan in 12 years and two months. If you tighten your belt a bit and increase the EMI by 10% every year, you can become debt-free in less than 10 years (see grphic)
Pay off a 20-year loan in less than 10 years
Hiking the EMI every year reduces the tenure drastically.
Contrary to what T.S. Eliot said, April is not the cruellest month. Any salaried individual will vouch for this. While annual increments are something to celebrate, people with large outstanding debts should also try and increase their EMIs in line with the increase in income. In a few weeks, they will also get their annual bonuses. At least some of that should be used to prepay the home loan.
Reducing your outstanding debt or closing the loan is naturally a psychological boost. It gives the individual a sense of financial freedom.
Some people argue that prepaying the home loan robs the individual of liquidity. That’s not correct. Several banks offer home loans with an overdraft facility that allows the borrower to withdraw money as and when he needs it. Though overdraft facilities normally entail annual maintenance charges, home loan overdraft facilities are exempt from this charge. It’s also a good idea to use a loan against property to repay other costlier loans. For instance, an unsecured personal loan that charges 18-20% can be replaced with a loan against property that costs 8.5%.
(Author is founder and managing director, Mymoneymantra.com)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of http://www.economictimes.com.
Currently, banks can decide their own benchmark lending rate, the MCLR. What if your loan was linked to a benchmark set by a third-party? Will you get a better deal?
Vivina Vishwanathan | Last Published: Tue, Mar 13 2018. 08 33 AM IST | LiveMint
India has floating home loans that become expensive as soon as the interest rates go up, but don’t float down when the rates fall. This happens because the banking regulator allows banks to peg their home loan rates to a benchmark that the banks themselves control—allowing them to benefit when they choose to, at the cost of you, the retail borrower. But it looks as if competition is finally arriving in this segment with a new home loan product from Citibank India, which uses a third-party benchmark. Here, we examine if such a thing is good for you or not. But first, some background.
Several times, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its monetary policy review has flagged the issue of rate cut benefits not being passed on to retail customers. It has tried thrice to rationalize the benchmark lending rate linked to home loans, in a way that there is transparency and the benefits are passed on to consumers.
In the last 7 years, we have also seen home loans move through three benchmark rates—from benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR) to base rate in 2010 and then to marginal cost of funds based lending rate(MCLR) in 2016. However, none of these attempts seem to have worked and the desired goal of transparency in loan rates has still not been delivered.
Last year, during a monetary policy announcement, RBI governor Urjit Patel indicated that MCLR could be reviewed as the rate transmission to customers continued to be slow. While the banking regulator waffles on this, Citibank has come out with a home loan product that is linked to 3-month treasury bills (T-Bills).
Is it allowed to do this? “RBI permits banks to link their variable rate home loans to MCLR, provide fixed-rate loans, semi-fixed-rate loans or (even) link their loans to an external benchmark,” said Rohit Ranjan, head of secured lending, Citibank India. This is not the first time a bank has linked its home loan product to an external benchmark. ING Vyasa Bank Ltd, in 2005, had a home loan product that was linked to Mumbai Inter-Bank Offer Rate (Mibor) (you can read more about it here). Let’s understand the home loan products linked to T-Bills and see if you should opt for them.
Citi’s new home loan product is linked to the 3-month Government of India T-Bill benchmark. It is an external reference rate. Citi has decided to pick this data from the Financial Benchmarks India Pvt. Ltd (FBIL), which is a company that aims to develop and administer benchmarks relating to money market, government securities and foreign exchange in India.
How is the data for this benchmark arrived at? According to FBIL, it is based on T-Bills traded in the market. The benchmark rate is announced everyday at 5.30pm, except on holidays.
It is calculated from the data of secondary market trades executed and reported up to 5pm on the Negotiated Dealing System – Order Matching Platform (NDS-OM)—which is an electronic system for trading government securities in the secondary market. All trades of Rs5 crore or more, and having had a minimum of three trades in each tenure are considered. The benchmark T-Bill data is then published for seven different tenures: 14 days, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months.
So that there is consistency, the bank has decided to pick the rate published on 12th day of each month. “Our endeavour is to provide as much stability as possible on rates to our customers. We believe a date towards the middle of the month best suits this objective,” said Ranjan. Usually, the RBI too comes out with its bi-monthly monetary policy in the first week of the month.
As this home loan product will be linked to 3-month T-Bill data, its reset clause will also be set for 3 months. This means, every 3 months your home loan interest would change based on movements in the external benchmark rate.
Is a 3-month T-Bill benchmark appropriate for 20-30 year loans? In a developed market such as the US, mortgages are linked to longer duration benchmark rates. “Linking long-term loans to longer-duration benchmark rates is more appropriate to the extend that it is based on duration. But at the same time in the US, for example, mortgages tend to be fixed. Then it makes sense to link to longer term loan. In case of Citi’s home loan product, the reset is more frequent and linking to a long-term rate may not be appropriate. It is just a strategy,” said R. Sivakumar, head, fixed income, Axis Mutual Fund.
The home loan also comes with a spread. In this case, it is around 200 basis points, plus T-Bill. The 200 basis points can vary depending on your credit profile. “As of today, home loan rate linked to t-bills will be around 8.5%….If your credit profile is good, then the spread could be lower,” said Ranjan. Remember that the spread that you agree to while signing a loan agreement will not be changed till the end of loan tenure.
How T-Bill is different
The RBI has said many times that there is no transparency in the way floating interest rate on home loans is calculated, and that there is need for a benchmark rate that is market linked so that any change in policy rates can be passed on to the consumers. Usually, banks keep the rates high even in a falling interest rate regime and you don’t see an immediate impact or cut in policy rates. To understand if home loans linked to T-Bills will bring in transparency, we compared T-Bills with MCLR and base rate. If you look at both comparisons, the drop in interest rates linked to MCLR as well as base rate come with a lag. If the home loan rates are linked to T-Bills, the reflection on falling interest rate is likely to be immediate on your home loan. The movement in T-Bill yields is a result of two parameters—repo rate and liquidity. Hence, if it is a falling interest rate regime, the fall will reflect faster in your loan rates.
Currently, when your home loan is linked to MCLR, the impact on your home loan rate is also a result of the banks’ cost of funds and other parameters associated with the bank that you take the loan from.
What should you do?
The concept of linking home loans to an external benchmark rate (instead of an internal one) is a good idea, as it makes the process transparent. Typically, banks have some leeway in controlling their rates. An external rate should obviate such a possibility.
However, is it possible for banks to manipulate the external benchmark too? “It is very difficult, since the cut off rate is decided by RBI. The central bank has the ability to manipulate it but a market participant can’t since it is a big and liquid market,” said Sivakumar.
As of now, the interest rate on home loans that is linked to T-Bills and MCLR are similar, due to the spreads attached to each one of them. A Citi home loan linked to MCLR has a spread of 40 basis points while the one that is linked to the T-Bills would have a spread of 200 basis points. Experts say that interest rates linked to an external benchmark will bring transparency and hence will help you to benefit more from falling interest rates.
“The rate will fall as well as rise faster. In T-Bills you will see a decrease before the MCLR decreases. There will be periods where the rates will lead or lag each other. But over the life cycle of the mortgage, say 20 to 30 years, the difference should not be huge, assuming the spread of 200 basis points,” said Sivakumar.
Currently, there have been signals of a higher interest rate regime kicking in. Hence, you may not benefit from T-Bill rates immediately. “The experience with base rate and MCLR has been that the rates tend to fall much more slowly when policy rates are falling. The moment you have an external benchmark, and there is no bank controlling it, the loan will be far more transparent and you are better off having that— especially when rates are falling,” said Vishal Dhawan, a Mumbai-based financial planner.
But what about the 200 basis point spread? “The spread is a function of what you end up believing is the cost of running a business. Ultimately, the bank will also be raising resources, which is not necessarily linked to 3-month T-Bill rate. It will be unfair to believe that the cost of fund for the bank is only the 3-month T-Bill rate and the spread is too much. The value will become far more evident when the rate cycle turns again and rates go down—right now it may not make a big difference,” added Dhawan.
As a borrower, however, you now have an option to pick a home loan based on an external benchmark. If it doesn’t work for you, you always have the option to switch to an MCLR-linked home loan.
A high credit score certainly boosts the chances of your loan approval. However, if you fail to qualify on other parameters, even your high credit score will not help.
Published: March 14, 2018 4:37 PM | Financial Express
A high credit score certainly boosts the chances of your loan approval. However, it doesn’t guarantee it. Credit score is just one of many parameters used for credit approval by lenders. If you fail to qualify on other parameters, even your high credit score will not help. Here are the some of the most common reason why loan applications are rejected despite a good credit score:
1. Minimum income eligibility: Most lending products have minimum income criteria for loan applicants. Lenders may also set varying income eligibility criteria depending on your location, i.e. metro, urban, semi-urban and rural areas. As this is often the first filter that lenders apply for processing loan applications, those who fail to meet this criterion are usually rejected outright, even without the consideration of other eligibility factors, such as credit score and EMI affordability. As this criterion may vary across lenders, visit online lending marketplaces to find out the loan options available to you basis your monthly income.
2. Age: Most lenders cap the age of loan applicants at 60 years. This is because monthly incomes usually dip after retirement, which increases of the risk of default. Some credit products may also cap the age by which the repayment has to be completed. For example, most lenders require the borrowers to complete their home loan and loan against property repayment before they turn 70. Those who fail to meet these requirements may have their loan applications rejected. If you too are approaching your retirement age, improve the chances of loan approval by making your spouse or employed children your co-applicants.
3. Frequent job changes: Nowadays it is quite common to frequently change jobs for better career prospects and higher income. However, frequent job changes is considered as a sign of an unstable career and hence, job hoppers are regarded as less creditworthy, especially for longer tenured loans like home loans and loan against property. If you too are planning to avail a longer tenured loan, avoid job changes for some time.
4. Guarantor of other loan: Whenever you become a guarantor to someone else’s loan, you become equally liable for its repayment. Hence, during fresh loan application, lenders will reduce your loan eligibility by the amount of outstanding loan guaranteed. This might lead to the rejection of your loan application. As banks do not allow changes in guarantor(s) unless requested by the borrower himself, ask the primary applicant of the loan to find another guarantor as your replacement.
5. High FOIR: Fixed obligation to income ratio (FOIR) is the proportion of your total income which goes out as EMIs (including the EMI for the new loan application) and other repayment obligations like house rent, insurance premiums, etc. As lenders prefer to lend to those with FOIR of 40-50% or lower, those exceeding it may have their loan application rejected. Hence, those with higher FOIR should prepay their existing loans in whole or part to increase their loan eligibility. Alternatively, opt for lower EMI for the new loan if that contains your FOIR within 40-50%.
6. Job and employer’s profile: Many lenders also consider your job description and/or your employer’s profile while processing your loan application. Lenders prefer government employees and those working with top corporates and MNCs the most due to their higher job certainty, whereas those working with lesser-known or financially-strained companies are less preferred. Employees with hazardous job profile have lower loan approval chances. Consider loans from NBFCs if banks reject your loan application due to your job or employer’s profile.
(By Naveen Kukreja, CEO & Co-founder, Paisabazaar.com)
Don’t see property prices going up for now: Renu Sud Karnad, Managing Director, HDFC
ANIL URS | Published on March 14, 2018 | The Hindu Business Line
BENGALURU, MARCH 14
Renu Sud Karnad, Managing Director, HDFC, in an interview with BusinessLine, explains how the realty and home-loan sectors are shaping up as the new regulatory regime sets in. Excerpts:
How is the property market doing pan-India?
Apart from New Delhi and Chennai, where we see slow offtake, the market is good in other major cities. By good I mean, we are doing good business.
How do you see property prices moving?
As I see it now, I don’t see any increase in property rates happening.
What about interest rates, especially in the wake of rising bond rates?
Yes. Interest rates are rising a little bit. But let me put it this way. I don’t think the rates are going to come down. I think next year we will see a quarter to 1 per cent increase in rates.
Is this rise in rates low, or how do we understand it?
A quarter to half a per cent is nothing when compared to the high interest rate days, when home loans were going at 13-14 per cent. Now they are at 8.3-8.4 per cent. So they may go up to 8.9-9 per cent.
How is HDFC’s home loan growth?
At 23 per cent, our home loan growth is excellent. We have seen good growth coming from Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Pune. In the National Capital Region (NCR) it is a little slow. Otherwise, home loan growth normally is about 15-18 per cent.
Are any banks on your radar for acquisitions?
We are always on the look out whenever an opportunity arises.
How far are you in picking up CanFin Homes?
Actually, you should ask them, because five to six people are talking to them. I don’t know what pressure of time they have and don’t know when they need to announce it. Yes, we are also talking to them.
Have you firmed up your business plan for the next fiscal (2018-19)?
We are in the process. But I can tell you we are looking at 15-18 per cent growth.
How is the borrowing by property developers?
They, I think, are now looking at new avenues. PE funds are giving them money. Banks have also started to explore. Once the sector gets used to new regulatory framework, we could see good amount of lending.
Definitely the last one year had been challenging from them. But I think in the next six months, things should settle down.
PTI | March 5, 2018 | India Today
Mumbai, Mar 5 (PTI) Even as rivals continue to be reluctant about adopting external benchmarks for setting lending rates, American lender Citi today launched the countrys first market benchmark rate-linked lending product.
The bank has introduced a home loan product that will be linked to the rate of treasury bills, which is used by government for its short-term borrowings.
The lender, which already has similar external benchmark-linked products in other markets like the US and Singapore, said it does not see any impact on net interest margin (NIM), a key determinant of profitability, because of the launch of the product where a borrowers rates will be reviewed every three months.
Frustrated at poor transmission of its policy moves into lending rates for borrowers, the Reserve Bank had last October mooted the idea of moving to a market-linked benchmark and suggested three such instruments, including the T-bills rate, the rate for certificate of deposits and its own repo rate to determine the interest rate.
Bankers, led by their lobby grouping Indian Banks Association, had opposed such a move, claiming that the existing marginal cost of funding based lending rates is working well and also pointed out that deposits are not linked to any market benchmark.
Citis country business manager for global consumer banking Shinjini Kumar, said a shift to a market benchmark like the T-bill is transparent, simple and will also help with better transmission.
Loans will be sold at a fixed spread above the T-bill rate which will be maintained throughout the loan tenure, she said, adding there will be quarterly readjustments for the borrower.
There will be a range of spread above the T-bill rate which the bank will follow, its head of secured lending Rohit Ranjan said, adding the average spread will be 2 percentage points. Existing customers will also be able to move to the new product without any refinancing costs, he added.
The banks country treasurer Badrinivas NC sought to downplay concerns surrounding customers being exposed to T- bill rate volatilities, which may happen due to external events like the taper tantrum in 2013 and hinted that the rates also reflect the policy decisions at a particular point of time which get captured through the quarterly resets.
He said the bank has a diversified liability profile, including a high 60 per cent composition on the low-cost current and savings account deposits and also other retail term deposits, which will make it possible for it to offer such a product.
The bank feels the RBI will be on a long pause and may go for a hike in rates only if there is a surge in inflation, he said.
In a few cases, especially concerning top corporates, the bank has been benchmarking rates against market benchmarks but those were deals done on a one-on-one basis, and this is the first time that any lender is going to the market with such an offering, Kumar said.
The bank had a gross home loan book of Rs 9,000 crore, while the overall India book stood at Rs 57,000 crore as of December 2017. Even as rivals struggle with dud assets, its NPAs on the mortgage lending is a healthy 0.05 per cent, the bank said.
Commenting on the recent changes in priority sector lending (PSL) requirements for foreign banks, Kumar said Citi is already compliant on PSL requirements, including the sub- categories and in some cases it uses priority sector lending certificates.
The bank will be resorting to use of digital technologies and tying up with partners to comply with the new requirements, she said. PTI AA BEN BEN SDM