IDBI Bank has already increased its one-year MCLR rate to 8,65 percent, making its loans more expensive for customers. The bank has also increased its two-year and three-year MCLR rate to 8.7 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively
By ZeeBiz WebTeam | Updated: Mon, May 14, 2018 06:12 pm | ZeeBiz WebDesk
If you are thinking of taking a home loan then you must do it as early as possible, as banks are likely to increase their interest rates in near future. IDBI Bank has already increased its one-year MCLR rate to 8,65 percent, making its loans more expensive for customers. The bank has also increased its two-year and three-year MCLR rate to 8.7 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively. This rate has been made effective from May 12. The bank has increased MCLR in the range between 0.5 bps and 0.10 bps.
This is the base rate at which banks provide loans to its customers. If banks get cheaper loans then they also lend at cheaper rates to their customers and vis-a-vis. An increase in the MCLR means, your loans will come at a higher rate, and you will have to shell out more for auto loans, home loans, personal loans or any other loans.
The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) recently increased its home loan rate for up to Rs 30 lakh from 8.35 percent to 8.65 percent. Allahabad Bank is also providing the home loan amount up to 30 lakh at 8.35 percent.
Other banks including Axis Bank and Bank of India are giving home loans up to Rs 30 lakhs at 8.4 percent, according to Bank Bazaar. For home loans between Rs 30 lakh and 75 lakh, Allahabad Bank, Dena Bank and SBI are charging 8.35 percent. These banks are also charging the same rate for loans over Rs 75 lakhs, according to the financial services company website.
ICICI Bank, however, is charging between 8.75 and 8.95 per cent for loans over Rs 75 lakh, while HDFC Bank is providing loans at 8.6 percent for the amount exceeding Rs 75 lakh. As the banks are increasing their loan rates, this is the right time to go for home loan.
Bank of India will offer preferential pricing rates to borrowers with good credit scores for home loans of Rs 30 lakh and above, the state-run lender said.
By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: May 7, 2018 7:35 PM | Financial Express
Bank of India will offer preferential pricing rates to borrowers with good credit scores for home loans of Rs 30 lakh and above, the state-run lender said. Customers with CIBIL score of 760 and above will be offered loan at the minimum home loan interest rate or the marginal cost of lending rate (MCLR) for an year, the bank said in a statement. MCLR is the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend. Those with a score of 759 and less, the rate of interest for loans of Rs 30 lakh and above will come at MCLR plus 0.10 basis points for a year.
One basis points is 100th of a percentage point. Bank of India said borrowers availing home loans of over Rs 30 lakh will be benefited from the reduced rate of interest. A consumer’s CIBIL score is a three-digit numeric summary of the credit information report (CIR) — summarising the past credit behaviour and repayment history — and ranges from 300 to 900.
The higher the score, the better are the chances of loan approval. Most banks check a consumer’s CIBIL score and report before approving a loan. “Consumers with a good credit discipline should be rewarded, as it helps propagate the importance and need to maintain a good financial history. Our preferential pricing model aims to reward high-scoring home-loan aspirants with competitive ROI, thereby helping them making their dream home a reality,” Bank of India said in a statement.
Credit information company TransUnion CIBIL’s Head of Direct to Consumers Interactive Hrushikesh Mehta said: “Bank of India’s CIBIL score-based incentive helps further highlight the need to monitor and build a positive credit profile through good credit habits.”
By Sunil Dhawan | ET Online | Updated: May 05, 2018, 12.32 PM IST | Economic Times
Buying that dream home can be rather tedious process that involves a lot of research and running around.
First of all you will have to visit several builders across various locations around the city to zero in on a house you want to buy. After that comes the time to finance the purchase of your house, for which you will most probably borrow a portion of the total cost from a lender like a bank or a home finance company.
However, scouting for a home loan is generally not a well thought-out process and most of us will typically consider the home loan interest rate, processing fees, and the documentary trail that will get us the required financing with minimum effort. There is one more important factor you should consider while taking a home loan and that is the type of loan. There are different options that come with various repayment options.
Other than the plain vanilla home loan scheme, here are a few other repayment options you can consider.
I. Home loan with delayed start of EMI payments
Banks like the State Bank of India (SBI) offer this option to its home loan borrowers where the payment of equated monthly instalments (EMIs) begins at a later date. SBI’s Flexipay home loan comes with an option to go for a moratorium period (time during the loan term when the borrower is not required to make any repayment) of anywhere between 36 months and 60 months during which the borrower need not pay any EMI but only the pre-EMI interest is to be paid. Once the moratorium period ends, the EMI begins and will be increased during the subsequent years at a pre- agreed rate.
Compared to a normal home loan, in this loan one can also get a higher loan amount of up to 20 percent. This kind of loan is available only to salaried and working professionals aged between 21 years and 45 years.
Watch outs: Although initially the burden is lower, servicing an increasing EMI in the later years, especially during middle age or nearing retirement, requires a highly secure job along with decent annual increments. Therefore, you should carefully opt for such a repayment option only if there’s a need as the major portion of the EMI in the initial years represents the interest.
II. Home loan by linking idle savings in bank account
Few home loan offers such as SBI Maxgain, ICICI Bank’s home loan ‘Overdraft Facility’ and IDBI Bank’s ‘Home Loan Interest Saver’ allows you to link your home loan account with your current account that is opened along with. The interest liability of your home loan comes down to the extent of surplus funds parked in the current account. You will be allowed to withdraw or deposit funds from the current account as and when required. The interest rate on the home loan will be calculated on the outstanding balance of loan minus balance in the current account.
For example, on a Rs 50 lakh loan at 8.5 percent interest rate for 20 years, with a monthly take home income of say Rs 1.5 lakh, the total interest outgo for a plain vanilla loan is about Rs 54,13,875. Whereas, for a loan linked to your bank account, it will be about Rs 52,61,242, translating into a savings of about Rs 1.53 lakh during the tenure of the loan.
Watch outs: Although the interest burden gets reduced considerably, banks will ask you to pay that extra interest rate for such loans, which translates into higher EMIs.
III. Home loan with increasing EMIs
If one is looking for a home loan in which the EMI keeps increasing after the initial few years, then you can consider something like the Housing Development Finance Corporation’s (HDFC) Step Up Repayment Facility (SURF) or ICICI Bank’s Step Up Home Loans.
In such loans, you can avail a higher loan amount and pay lower EMIs in the initial years. Subsequently, the repayment is accelerated proportionately with the assumed increase in your income. There is no moratorium period in this loan and the actual EMI begins from the first day. Paying increasing EMI helps in reducing the interest burden as the loan gets closed earlier.
Watch outs: The repayment schedule is linked to the expected growth in one’s income. If the salary increase falters in the years ahead, the repayment may become difficult.
IV. Home loan with decreasing EMIs
HDFC’s Flexible Loan Installments Plan (FLIP) is one such plan in which the loan is structured in a way that the EMI is higher during the initial years and subsequently decreases in the later years.
Watch outs: Interest portion in EMI is as it is higher in the initial years. Higher EMI means more interest outgo in the initial years. Have a prepayment plan ready to clear the loan as early as possible once the EMI starts decreasing.
V. Home loan with lump sum payment in under-construction property
If you purchase an under construction property, you are generally required to service only the interest on the loan amount drawn till the final disbursement and pay the EMIs thereafter. In case you wish to start principal repayment immediately, you can opt to start paying EMIs on the cumulative amounts disbursed. The amount paid will be first adjusted for interest and the balance will go towards principal repayment. HDFC’s Tranche Based EMI plan is one such offering.
For example, on a Rs 50 lakh loan, if the EMI is xx, by starting to pay the EMI, the total outstanding will stand reduced to about Rs 36 lakh by the time the property gets completed after 36 months. The new EMI will be lower than what you had paid over previous 36 months.
Watch outs: There is no tax benefit on principal paid during the construction period. However, interest paid gets the tax benefit post occupancy of the home.
VI. Home loan with longer repayment tenure
ICICI Bank’s home loan product called ‘Extraa Home Loans’ allows borrowers to enhance their loan eligibility amount up to 20 per cent and also provide an option to extend the repayment period up to 67 years of age (as against normal retirement age) and are for loans up to Rs 75 lakh.
These are the three variants of ‘Extraa’.
a) For middle aged, salaried customers: This variant is suitable for salaried borrowers up to 48 years of age. While in a regular home loan, the borrowers will get a repayment schedule till their age of retirement, with this facility they can extend their loan tenure till 65 years of age.
b) For young, salaried customers: The salaried borrowers up to 37 years of age are eligible to avail a 30 year home loan with repayment tenure till 67 years of age.
c) Self-employed or freelancers : There are many self-employed customers who earn higher income in some months of the year, given the seasonality of the business they are in. This variant will take the borrower’s higher seasonal income into account while sanctioning those loans.
Watch outs: The enhancement of loan limit and the extension of age come at a cost. The bank will charge a fee of 1-2 per cent of total loan amount as the loan guarantee is provided by India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation (IMGC). The risk of enhanced limit and of increasing the tenure essentially is taken over by IMGC.
VII. Home loan with waiver of EMI
Axis Bank offers a repayment option called ‘Fast Forward Home Loans’ where 12 EMIs can be waived off if all other instalments have been paid regularly. Here. six months EMIs are waived on completion of 10 years, and another 6 months on completion of 15 years from the first disbursement. The interest rate is the same as that for a normal loan but the loan tenure has to be 20 years in this scheme. The minimum loan amount is fixed at Rs 30 lakh.
The bank also offers ‘Shubh Aarambh Home Loan’ with a maximum loan amount of Rs 30 lakh, in which 12 EMIs are waived off at no extra cost on regular payment of EMIs – 4 EMIs waived off at the end of the 4th, 8th and 12th year. The interest rate is the same as normal loan but the loan tenure has to be 20 years in this loan scheme.
Watch outs: Keep a tab on any specific conditions and the processing fee and see if it’s in line with other lenders. Keep a prepayment plan ready and try to finish the loan as early as possible.
Nature of home loans
Effective from April 1, 2016, all loans including home loans are linked to a bank’s marginal cost-based lending rate (MCLR). Someone looking to get a home loan should keep in mind that MCLR is only one part of the story. As a home loan borrower, there are three other important factors you need to evaluate when choosing a bank to take the loan from – interest rate on the loan, the markup, and the reset period.
What you should do
It’s better to opt for a plain-vanilla home loan as they don’t come with any strings attached. However, if you are facing a specific financial situation that may require a different approach, then you could consider any of the above variants. Sit with your banker, discuss your financial position, make a reasonable forecast of income over the next few years and decide on the loan type. Don’t forget to look at the total interest burden over the loan tenure. Whichever loan you finally decide on, make sure you have a plan to repay the entire outstanding amount as early as possible. After all, a home with 100 per cent of your own equity is a place you can call your own.
Banks and NBFCs follow different guidelines when it comes to lending and, thus, home loans disbursed by them are also done on certain different parameters. Here’s all you need to know.
By: Adhil Shetty | Published: May 3, 2018 1:03 PM | Financial Express
When buying a house, we all want to get the best deal on the home loan we avail as it is probably the longest financial commitment we will make impacting our overall portfolio and expenses. However, deciding on the right financial institution to avail the loan from is a rather tricky task, given the market is competitive.
With the rise of non-banking financial corporations (NBFCs) in India, the choice has only gotten wider as customers can now choose not only among banks, but also NBFCs. But did you know that availing a home loan from a bank and an NBFC may seem similar, but work in very different ways?
Banks and NBFCs follow different guidelines when it comes to lending and, thus, home loans disbursed by them are also done on certain different parameters. Find out how these two differ when it comes to assessing an individual for a home loan and which one can you resort to for your home loan.
1. Interest Rates: MCLR vs PLR
Banks operate their housing loan interest rates based on Marginal Cost of Lending Rate (MCLR), which serves as their lending benchmark and is closely monitored by the RBI. On the other hand, loans by Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) and NBFCs are not linked to the MCLR. They are linked to the Prime Lending Rate (PLR), which is outside the ambit of the RBI. So while banks can’t lend at rates below the MCLR, PLR-linked loans do not have such restrictions.
Banks have both floating and fixed rates, of which before only floating rates felt the occasional impact of MCLR. But in February this year it was announced by the RBI that all new loans whether with floating interest rates or base rates will be linked to the MCLR.
An MCLR-linked loan clearly mentions the intervals at which its interest rate will automatically change. In a falling interest rate scenario, this allows customers to receive RBI-mandated rate cuts in a transparent, time-bound manner.
As NBFCs and HFCs are free to set their PLR, it gives them greater freedom to increase or decrease their loan rates as per their selling requirements. This sometimes suits customers and provides them more options, especially when they fail to meet the loan eligibility criteria of banks. But in many cases, for those who easily meet the criteria this may also result in inflated interest rates compared to banks.
2. Loan Eligibility via Credit Score
As paperless financial technology takes prominence, more and more lenders are depending on credit scores to determine loan eligibility. While there are upper caps set on interest rates through MCLR and PLR, the actual interest rate you pay on your loan is linked to your credit score. Leading lenders are known to offer their best rates to customers with a CIBIL score of 750 or more.
While both banks and NBFCs consider credit scores carefully, NBFCs tend to have more relaxed policies towards customers with low credit scores. However, with a very low score, both banks and NBFCs will likely charge you a higher interest rate. In some cases, banks may ask to convert the home loan into a secured loan by mortgaging some asset if the credit criteria is not met, but you still need the loan.
A customer with a low score can in fact start with a loan from an NBFC. Through timely repayment, s/he can improve his credit score. After this, once the bank’s eligibility criteria is met, the loan balance can be transferred to a bank.
To keep yourself ready, make sure to access credit reports by CIBIL or Experian. This will allow you to be ready even before you approach a lender. Since credit scores change every quarter, you can take your time to improve it before you decide to avail the loan in order to get a better rate of interest and disbursal amount.
3. Loan Amount
The actual cost of property is never just the selling price promoted by developers and builders. During acquisition it typically goes up as other costs like stamp duty, registration, an assortment of payments towards brokerage, furnishing, repairs and more always add up. Based on where you are in India, you may have to pay between 3 and 11 per cent of the property value as registration cost alone.
Banks are allowed to fund up to 80% of a property’s value. For example, if you are buying a property worth Rs 50 lakh, you may receive a loan of Rs 40 lakh from banks excluding the registration cost and associated charges of course. The rest of the fund requirements would have to be met by you and often these last mile costs weigh heavily on the final decision to buy a property.
Although both NBFCs and banks are not allowed to fund stamp duty and registration costs, NBFCs can include these costs as part of a property’s market valuation. This allows the customer to borrow a larger amount as per his eligibility.
4. Pre-Payment, Foreclosure and Late Payment Charges
Just like other loans, home loans also have associated charges attached. Both banks and NBFCs will have charges for pre-payment and foreclosure but NBFCs tend to charge much higher. In addition, late payment charges by NBFCs may sometimes be close to 10 or 20% of your monthly EMI, giving you no respite in case you default on any payment. NBFCs also tend to have higher processing fees, although some banks may charge similar amounts.
Whoever the lender may be, make sure to calculate you future interests and factor in additional costs associated with your repayment as home loans range between 10 and 30 years and you may have to bear such high charges in future.
(The writer is CEO at Bankbazaar.com)
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.
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.
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