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.
Growth in mortgages in the banking sector slipped to 11.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in October from 12.8% in September, data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday showed.
By: FE Bureau | Mumbai | Published: December 1, 2017 4:51 AM | Financial Express
Growth in mortgages in the banking sector slipped to 11.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in October from 12.8% in September, data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday showed. Home-loan outstandings at banks had grown 16.6% y-o-y in October 2016. The total outstanding on mortgages in the banking system stood at Rs 9.03 lakh crore as on October 27 this year. Retail loans as a category grew 16% y-o-y in October, a shade slower than 17% in October 2016. Outstanding retail loans as on October 27 stood at Rs 17.45 lakh crore. Loans to individuals had been clocking growth figures in the mid-to-late teens since May 2015, before signs of a slowdown began to surface in November 2016.
In September, outstandings on credit cards grew the most, at 37.7%, among all categories of loans to individuals. Vehicle loans grew 7.4%, significantly slower than 23.5% in September 2016, while consumer-durable loans dropped 9.4%, as compared to a year-ago growth figure of 20.3%. Credit to industry contracted on a y-o-y basis for the thirteenth straight month in October, falling 0.2% y-o-y to Rs 26 lakh crore. In October 2016, the corresponding figure stood at Rs 26.05 lakh crore, 1.7% lower than the October 2015 level.
Industrial credit has been falling almost consistently since August 2016, with September 2016 being the only month of positive growth ever since. Credit deployment in industry fell 13.5% y-o-y in the medium industry segment. However, loans to large industry and micro-and-small industry recorded positive growth, rising 0.2% and 1.2%, respectively, over the year-ago period. Bank credit to industry has been muted for the past couple of years as lenders turned cautious amid worsening asset quality and well-rated corporates chose to raise money from the bond market.
Loan growth has been suffering partly due to capital-starved public sector banks. Analysts expect the recapitalisation of state-owned banks to fuel credit growth in the months ahead. In a recent note, Kotak Institutional Equities wrote that lenders like Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank and Union Bank of India should see loan growth improving. “Loan growth for PSU banks is also partly supported by loan buy-outs from NBFCs and private banks. Retail cycle continues to hold up well, prompting many banks to pursue this segment more aggressively,” Kotak said. Trends in the corporate loan growth appear anaemic, according to the brokerage, with few signs of a turn in the capex cycle.
By Saloni Shukla – ET Bureau | Updated: Aug 25, 2017, 12.05 PM IST | Economic Times
MUMBAI: A Reserve Bank of India appointed committee on Household Finance has suggested that banks link their home loan rates to the RBI’s repo rate, the rate at which it lends to banks, instead of the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR), which the banks follow now.
“Banks should quote loans to customers using the RBI repo rate rather than based on their own MCLR rates,” the committee report chaired by Dr Tarun Ramadorai, Professor of Financial Economics, Imperial College Business School, London, suggests. “To facilitate ease of comparison for prospective borrowers at the point of purchase, every floating-rate home loan should be quoted to prospective borrowers in the form of a market-wide standardised rate + spread as opposed to MCLR + spread.”
While these recommendations need not be accepted by the regulator, it comes when the RBI had hinted it was unhappy with the rate transmission under the MCLR regime. In the past three years the central bank has reduced the policy rate by 200 basis points, but the weighted average lending rates have fallen by 145 basis points. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.
“The experience with the marginal cost of funds based lending rate or MCLR system introduced in April 2016 for improving monetary transmission has not been entirely satisfactory even though it has been an advance over the earlier base rate system,” Viral Acharya, deputy governor RBI had said on August 2. “We have constituted an internal study group across several clusters to study various aspects of the MCLR system and to explore whether linking of the bank lending rates could be made direct to market determined benchmarks going forward. The group will submit the report by September 24th 2017.”
The committee has also recommended that all banks use the same reset period of one month for loans. Under the current system, floating rate loans have a fixation period of roughly one year. The report argues that the current system impedes monetary transmission mechanism and does not allow borrowers to immediately benefit from interest rate drops.
“If the bank decides to link home loans to the one-year MCLR, it should pass through any changes in the one-year MCLR rate to borrowers every month,” the report says. “And if the bank decides to link home loans to the six-month MCLR, it should pass through any changes in the six-month MCLR rate to borrowers every month.
Source : https://goo.gl/kBksEU
Mayur Shetty | TNN | Updated: Jun 7, 2017, 03:10 PM IST | Times of India
MUMBAI: In a move that will encourage banks to lend more for housing in large cities and make high value home loans cheaper, the Reserve Bank of India reduced the risk weightage on home loans above Rs 75 lakh to 50% from 75% earlier.
“Considering the importance of the housing sector and given its forward and backward linkages to the economy, it has been decided as a countercyclical measure, to reduce the risk weight on certain categories. It has also been decided to reduce the standard asset provisioning on such loans,” RBI said in its monetary policy.
In its monetary policy review the RBI retained the repo rate at 6.25% and the reverse repo rate at 6%. The marginal standing facility (MSF) – an emergency funding facility continue to remain at 6.5% as also the cash reserve ratio of 4%.
In another move that will ease liquidity in the banking system by close to Rs 50,000 crore, Reserve Bank of India has reduced the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) – the prescription for minimum holding of government securities. As against investing 20.5% of their deposits in gilts, banks will now have to invest only 20% with effect from June 24, 2017. RBI said that the reduction was aimed at allowing banks to comply with the international norms on liquidity coverage that come into effect from January 2019.
It was widely expected that the central bank would keep rates on hold. However, economists believed that RBI would ease its stance from `neutral’ to `accommodative’ to send a message that easy money conditions would prevail. The central bank however continued to maintain a neutral stance on the ground that easing of prices might be temporary. It also pointed out that fuel prices have been hiked since the inflation numbers were published and prices might rise further.
Should you take a home loan from a bank or an NBFC?You would find NBFCs more willing to lend even if you have a poor credit score
Adhil Shetty | June 10, 2017 Last Updated at 22:13 IST | Business Standard
Lending rates have trended downwards over the last two years. Currently, several lenders are offering home loans at an interest rate of 8.35 per cent, way lower than the 10-11 per cent rate that prevailed four years ago. For customers this translates into a lower Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) on an existing loan, or allows them to borrow more to finance a bigger home. As they begin the process of short listing a loan provider, customers may find themselves wondering whether they should borrow from a bank or an NBFC (non-banking financial company). Here’s a look at some of the key criteria that will help you make this decision.
MCLR vs PLR
All new loans with floating interest rates offered by banks are now linked to the Marginal Cost of Lending Rate (MCLR). This departure from the base rate regime began on April 1, 2016. The MCLR serves as a bank’s lending benchmark, upon which they charge an interest rate spread. For example, for home loans up to Rs 30 lakh, a leading bank has a spread of 35-40 basis points above its one-year MCLR of 8 per cent. 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. This wasn’t the case with the base rate-linked loans where transmission of rate cuts was weaker.
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. While banks can’t lend at rates below the MCLR, PLR-linked loans do not have such restrictions. NBFCs and HFCs are free to set their PLR. This allows NBFCs greater freedom to increase or decrease their loan rates as per their selling requirements. This suits customers and provides them more options, especially when they fail to meet the loan eligibility criteria of banks. This also needs to be understood in context of a customer’s credit score, explained below.
Loan to value ratio
The actual cost of property acquisition typically goes up to 105-110 per cent of the property value, including cost of stamp duty, registration, and an assortment of payments towards brokerage, furnishing, repairs, etc. Based on where you are in India, you may pay between 3 and 11 per cent of the property value as registration cost. Banks are allowed to fund up to 80 per cent 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. The other 25-30 per cent of your fund requirements would have to be met by you. Often, these last mile costs weigh heavily on the final decision to buy a property. Both NBFCs and banks are not allowed to fund stamp duty and registration costs. However, 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, thus giving the NBFC an edge over competition.
Both banks and NBFCs may bundle products. For example, it’s not unusual for lenders to sell a loan protection insurance plan along with a home loan. The insurance plan helps settle the loan in case the borrower were to pass away during the tenure. Both banks and NBFCs have cross-selling targets. While banks have a much larger range of products to sell, NBFCs push more aggressively to sell third-party products like insurance to bring in more profitability per customer. Compared to banks, NBFCs have a smaller customer base. They have fewer branches and operate in fewer locations. As a result, there is an increased focus on profitability per customer. Customers need to evaluate whether the bundled products are useful to them. If not, they can refuse them and save costs.
Today, there is heightened focus on customers’ credit scores. Increasingly, the interest rate you pay on your loan is linked to your credit score. For example, a leading bank had recently offered its best rates to customers with a CIBIL score of 750 or more. You needn’t wait to apply for a loan to find out your score. You can access one free report a year by visiting the websites of credit rating agencies such as CIBIL or through third-party credit report generators.
If you scan the loan market, you will see that NBFCs have more relaxed policies towards customers with low credit scores. However, with a low score, both banks and NBFCs will likely charge you a higher interest rate. Loan seekers can make the best of both these options. A customer with a low score may start with a loan from an NBFC. Through timely repayment, he can improve his credit score. After this, he may meet a bank’s eligibility criteria and may transfer the loan balance to the bank. If the outstanding loan amount at this point is small, it’s better to continue with the NBFC.
A home loan is typically a long-term commitment with significant interest costs. If you borrowed Rs 50 lakh at 8.6 per cent for 20 years, your total interest paid over the loan tenure will be Rs 54.89 lakh, which is more than the principal borrowed. Therefore, loan holders look to reduce their interest outgo through timely pre-payments. An overdraft (OD) loan facility helps in this regard. An OD loan is linked to the customer’s bank account in which he can park surplus funds. The surplus over the EMI amount is treated as pre-payment towards the home loan, thus bringing down the overall loan liability and interest charged on the balance. Moreover, the customer can still withdraw the surplus as and when he requires it. At present, only banks provide the OD loan facility and NBFCs don’t. This facility is useful to families with the ability to generate regular surplus income, such as a working couple. It is also useful for someone who may be in frequent need of short-term funds, such as a businessman who can withdraw this surplus based on his needs.
Paperwork and processing
Banks have more stringent paperwork requirements for home loans. This is not necessarily a bad thing for the loan seeker. In lieu of the greater scrutiny, he stands to receive an attractive interest rate. NBFCs are known for relaxed paperwork policies and faster processing. For example, in Bengaluru banks will not finance properties that do not have a ‘B’ Khata, but NBFCs will.
The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com
Neha Dasgupta, Suvashree Choudhury, Savio Shetty | Sat, Nov 26 2016. 05 37 PM IST | Live Mint
RBI says banks will need to transfer 100% of their cash under the central bank’s cash reserve ratio from deposits generated between 16 September and 11 November
New Delhi/Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Saturday unexpectedly ordered banks to deposit their extra cash with it, in a bid to absorb excess liquidity generated by a government ban on larger banknotes.
Many Indians deposited their old notes with their banks after the ban on Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes on 8 November, which is aimed at tax evaders and counterfeiting.
Banks had put some of this cash into government bonds, sparking a rally that saw the benchmark 10-year bond yield fall more than 50 basis points to its lowest in more than 7-1/2 years.
The central bank said banks would need to transfer 100% of their cash under the RBI’s cash reserve ratio from deposits generated between 16 September and 11 November, saying it was a temporary measure that would be reviewed on or before 9 December.
Traders called it a drastic move intended to dent the rally in bond markets, adding that the RBI could have opted for more modest measures such as sucking out some of the liquidity through sales of market stabilisation bonds or telling banks to park funds under reverse repos.
The action could also temper market expectations that the central bank would cut interest rates by 25 basis points at its next policy review scheduled for 7 December, after already easing them by the same amount at its last review in October.
“The move is more of a ham-handed one than the finesse expected from the RBI,” said Shaktie Shukla, founder of boutique investment advisory firm Kaithora Capital.
“The liquidity sweep will definitely halt the down move in (bond) yields,” he added. “It will also temper the euphoria pre- RBI policy.”
The move is likely to drain over Rs3.24 trillion from the banks, according to Reuters estimates.
Traders said bond market yields could rise 8-10 bps on Monday, given that the RBI move would deprive the key source of funding seen in the past two weeks, while banking shares would likely take a hit.
Bond investors had also bet India’s demonetisation action would dent economic growth as consumers held back on purchases, raising the prospect of a rate cut by the RBI.
At the same time the bond rally had increased hopes it would lower borrowing costs in the economy and allow banks to reduce some of their lending rates.
On Friday the central bank also relaxed its liquidity auction rules by expanding its basket of securities that it accepts as collateral. Reuters
The platform owners & investors hail the move as regulation gives RBI’s stamp of approval to a business that is completely banned in countries like Japan & Israel
Anup Roy & Abhijit Lele | Mumbai | April 29, 2016 Last Updated at 00:25 IST | Business Standard
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday came up with a discussion paper on peer-to-peer lending (P2P), seeking to regulate the fast emerging crowdfunding platforms as the new financing model has assumed importance too significant to be ignored.
Interestingly, the platform owners and investors welcomed the development as regulation gives RBI’s stamp of approval to a business that is completely banned in countries like Japan and Israel.
“Any space where money changes hand should be regulated. Regulation is good for the industry, but it should be light regulation” said Mohandas Pai, former board member of Infosys and investor in Faircent.com, a P2P lending platform. “Regulation will help us in our business and we can approach the court of law as legal entities for our needs and even for recovery,” said Bhavin Patel, co-founder of LenDen Club, a P2P platform.
In fact, RBI itself is aware of this and sounded a little hesitant in giving this recognition to the business model. But the central bank officials, including Governor Raghuram Rajan, have said the RBI cannot remain indifferent to new innovation in financing activities and growth in P2P sector. To allow regulation, RBI’s discussion paper said the platforms should adopt a company structure that can then be regulated by the central bank. Currently, the P2P platforms are run by individuals, proprietorship, partnership or limited liability partnerships — areas outside RBI’s jurisdiction. The P2P platforms are largely technology companies registered under the Companies Act and acting as an aggregator for lenders and borrowers thereby, helping create a match between them.
“Although nascent in India and not significant in value yet, the potential benefits P2P lending promises to various stakeholders (to the borrowers, lenders, agencies etc.) and its associated risks to the financial system are too important to be ignored,” RBI said.
Presently, there are around 30 start-up P2P lending companies in India, RBI said. Globally, the cumulative lending through P2P platforms at the end of fourth quarter of 2015 reached £4.4 billion, from just £2.2 million in 2012. While banned in some countries, in some other jurisdictions, the P2P platforms are either considered part of banking, or are intermediaries.
RBI’s own discussion paper favoured the platforms to act as intermediaries, to be registered as non-banking finance companies with a minimum capital of Rs 2 crore, so that promoters have “skin in the game”. The discussion paper also sought to curtail the freedom of these companies significantly and said funds raised through the platforms should go directly from the lenders’ bank account to the borrowers’.
P2P LENDING BUSINESS
- The business size globally is £4.4 billion but nascent in India
- Completely banned in Israel and Japan but allowed elsewhere
- RBI plans to treat it as intermediary NBFC
- Minimum capital requirement is Rs 2 crore
- Should not take deposits
- Cannot show lending and borrowing funds in its balance sheet
- Money should go directly from lender to borrower
- Can only take fees, provide creditworthiness info
- Should not provide cross-border transactions
- Management should be stationed in India
Source : http://goo.gl/HB0yhG