Loans to get cheaper; SBI, HDFC Bank and Federal Bank cut lending rates
MDT/PTI 31 January 2013

While SBI has cut its lending rate by a marginal 0.05% (5 basis points), HDFC Bank and Federal Bank announced reduction in a few segments like auto loans to the tune of 0.25%-0.50%

Mumbai: Auto, home and corporate loans will become cheaper with banks, led by market leader State Bank of India (SBI), lowering the lending rates by up to 0.50% in response to the easy money policy of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), reports PTI.


While SBI has reduced the lending rate by a marginal 0.05% (5 basis points), private sector HDFC Bank and Federal Bank announced reduction in a few segments like auto loans to the tune of 0.25%-0.50%.


Public sector IDBI Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) had reduced lending rates by 0.25% and 0.75% respectively on Tuesday.


The lowering of the interest rates follows the decision of the RBI to cut key benchmark lending (repo) rate by 0.25% and deciding to inject additional liquidity of Rs18,000 crore by a similar cut in cash reserve ratio (CRR).


With the reduction, SBI's base rate or the minimum lending rate will now go down to 9.70% from 9.75% effective 4th February.


"Through this reduction, we are passing on a little more than what we gain through the rate cut by the RBI," a senior SBI official said after a meeting of the asset liability committee (ALCO) of the bank.


HDFC Bank has lowered interest rate on car and two-wheeler loans by 0.25% and 0.5% respectively.


On commercial vehicles, the interest rates would be reduced by 0.25%, an official said adding that the new rates would be effective from 1st February.


Mumbai-based HDFC Bank currently offers car loans between 10.75% and 11.75%. Post rate cut, the range would be 10.5%-11.5% for repayment period between 36 and 60 months.


Accordingly, interest rate on two-wheeler loans would be adjusted to between 19.25% to 22.25%.


With regard to commercial vehicles, the rate on heavy commercial vehicle will be down by 0.25% to 11% while rate for light commercial vehicle will get reduced to 13.75% from existing 14%.


The auto loan portfolio of the bank currently stands at about Rs33,000 crore. The auto loan advances of the bank have been witnessing a growth of 12%.


IDBI Bank has already lowered its base rate by 0.25% to 10.25% effective 1st February.


SBI, which has the most aggressive offering among the domestic banks, had last cut its base rate by 0.25% last September following the two CRR cuts by RBI earlier.


The largest bank, has however, not cut its deposits rates as the bank’s asset liability committee felt its offering is among the lowest in the market at present, the official said.


"We are gaining around Rs275 crore and passing around Rs350 crore...this will have a very negligible impact on our margins," the SBI official said, adding the outstanding loans under the old benchmark prime lending rate will also go down by a similar 0.05%.


A majority of bankers said they would transmit the benefits of the RBI rate cut.


Last month, HDFC Bank had reduced its base rate by 0.1% to 9.7%, the lowest in the market.


At the same time, the benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR) of the bank was also slashed by a similar margin to 18.20%.

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