On the day P Chidambaram took charge as the Union finance minister, the country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), on Wednesday brought interest rate relief to its new home and automobile loan customers.
The new rates, lower by 25-85 basis points (bps) for home loans and 50 bps for auto loans, will come into effect from August 7. The bank, however, is yet to decide on reducing the base rate — the benchmark rate to which all bank loans are linked.
The move comes a day after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reduced the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) — the proportion of liabilities that banks have to invest in government securities — by 100 bps to 23 per cent.
Other public sector bank heads told Business Standard they were evaluating the scope for rate cuts and their asset liability committees would take a call in the near future.
Pratip Chaudhuri, chairman, SBI, had said yesterday the SLR cut would release Rs 10,000 crore for SBI and had indicated the bank would review the rates on retail loans. The SLR cut will release up to Rs 60,000 crore into the banking system so that funds could be deployed in the productive sectors of the economy.
For home loans up to Rs 30 lakh, the reduction in interest rate will be 25 bps, translating into savings of Rs 500 per month for new customers for a 20-year loan. For loans above Rs 30 lakh and below Rs 75 lakh, the rate reduction is 60 bps. At 85 bps, the rate cut is the highest for home loans above Rs 75 lakh.
In other words, for loans up to Rs 30 lakh, a new customer of SBI will now be charged 25 bps above the base rate while for loans above Rs 30 lakh it would be 40 bps above the base rate.
A senior housing finance executive said the difference between SBI and leading players in the over Rs 75 lakh category would be to the tune of 75-100 basis points. That could lead to some cuts from other private sectors players in the category. “The difference between SBI and other major players is only 25 basis points in the Rs 30 lakh category — not a very substantial one. But, in other categories where the difference is higher, other players may have to cut rates soon,” said the official.
SBI’s base rate is 10 per cent, the lowest among public sector banks. The bank has a home loan portfolio of Rs 85,000 crore.