As banks hike rates days before RBI’s policy meet loans to get costlier

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A host of lenders have increased interest rates on loans by 10 basis points (100bps = 1 percentage point) ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting where it decides on rates. State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC, ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank, Union Bank and Punjab National Bank (PNB) are among those who have hiked rates. The MPC will announce its decision on June 6.

The marginal cost of lending rate (MCLR) is reviewed every month by banks and reflects their cost of funds. Following the latest hike, SBI’s one-year MCLR stands at 8.25 per cent versus 8.15 per cent earlier. This is the second rate hike by the bank in 2018. While HDFC has increased its retail prime lending rate (PLR) — its benchmark for home loans — by 10bps, ICICI Bank also hiked its one-year MCLR by 10bps to 8.40 per cent.

Following this, HDFC’s home loans will start at 8.5 per cent. The new rates come into effect from June 2, 2018 and is due to increase in cost of wholesale funds.

PNB has hiked one-year MCLR to 8.4 per cent from 8.3 per cent earlier. Union Bank increased rates by 10bps to 8.45 per cent. But Kotak Bank has increased its one-year MCLR by a sharp 20bps to 8.9 per cent.

Banks have not been waiting for the RBI decision and have moved ahead with an increase in deposit rates. On Friday, the third largest private lender Axis Bank hiked rates on deposits — by introducing a new tenure of 12 months, 5 days to under 12 months, 11 days — to 7.4 per cent.

Another private lender, Mangaluru-based Karnataka Bank, raised rates to 7.25 per cent from 7.10 per cent on deposits for a period of 1 year to 2 years. Earlier this week, SBI hiked term deposit rates for amounts of less than Rs 1 crore by up to 25bps.

Banks have been increasing deposit rates as loan growth has picked up and deposit growth has been slowing down with continued remonetisation and savings moving into mutual funds. The increase in deposit rates will automatically translate into higher lending rates in coming weeks as the MCLR is computed by taking into account the cost of deposits.

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