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Sub-PLR lending rates may go up, says KC Chakrabarty

The deputy governor of RBI has said that banks' lending rates to certain segments like short-term corporate loans could go up due to mis-pricing

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor KC Chakrabarty on Friday said that banks' lending rates to certain segments like short-term corporate loans could go up owing to the mis-pricing, but felt that overall rates will be stable, reports PTI.

"Overall interest rates will remain the same. (However), segments, where interest rates are mis-priced, you could see some increase, like in short-term corporate loans," Mr Chakrabarty told reporters in Mumbai.

Banks generally lend to potential customers, primarily corporate clients, at much lower rates below their benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR), which is often termed as the sub-PLR rate.

The apex bank, exiting from its easy money regime, upped the cash reserve ratio (CRR), the amount of money banks have to keep with the RBI, by 0.75% last month.

The banking system has enough liquidity to fund the infrastructure sector over the next two-three years, Mr Chakrabarty said, adding that in the long term, the country's corporate bond market will have to be developed to meet the huge investment demand.

Noting that the RBI has been approached by banks for mandatory liquidity exemption for infrastructure bonds, Mr Chakrabarty hinted that this may not be allowed as there is a possibility that similar demand may come in for other instruments as well.

Banks had urged the RBI to exempt the bonds they issue to raise money to lend to the infrastructure sector from the mandatory liquidity requirement.

On banks offering cheaper home loans, as low as at 8% to woo borrowers, Mr Chakrabarty said that this benefit should be extended to existing customers as well.

"We have no concern on teaser rates. You (banks) tease both new and old customers. Don't leave (out) only one segment," he added.

Another RBI deputy governor, Usha Thorat, had recently said that the banking regulator was concerned on teaser rates. Ms Thorat said that banks need to ensure that borrowers will be able to service the rates after the offer period.

The current level of inward capital flows, Mr Chakrabarty said, did not pose any major concern to the regulator as they can be absorbed by the market. "Up till now capital flows are managed by the market. We feel that there is no problem to manage this kind of capital flows," he said.

On the intervention of competition watchdog, Competition Commission of India, on banks' loan prepayment penalty issue, he said that banks will have to reach an agreement on the matter and hinted that the apex bank’s intervention was unlikely. "We don't come into the picture there," Mr Chakrabarty said.

The financial inclusion efforts in the banking industry, the deputy governor said, should be executed in a planned, systematic and calibrated manner to benefit the unbanked in the country.
 

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