RBI Cuts Repo Rate by 25bps, Loan EMIs May Get Cheaper


  • RBI Cuts Repo Rate by 25 Basis Points.
  • Loans to get cheaper with lower EMIs.

Good news for the Indian economy as Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has announced a slash in the repo rate rate by 25 bps in its meeting held on October 4, 2019. With this cut, the repo rate is now down to 5.15% from the previous 5.40%. The RBI has cut the policy rate for the fifth time in a row this year. The move would most likely lift the economy that is facing slowdown in demand and consumption.

RBI Cuts Repo Rate by 35 bps in August 2019

Continuing its rate cut spree, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has slashed the repo rate by a further 35 basis points to 5.40% in August 2019. This adds to a combined rate cut of 110 basis points so far in 2019. The rate cut meant that leading banks like SBI and Bank of Baroda (BoB) have slashed their lending rates. SBI has reduced the benchmark 1-year Marginal Cost of Lending Rate (MCLR) by 15 basis points. On the other hand, BoB has cut the MCLR by 25 basis points. 1-year MCLR is applicable to floating rate loans such as home loans, car loans, etc.

RBI Cuts Repo Rate by 25 Basis Points in June 2019

In line with the market expectations, the RBI has slashed the repo rate by 25 basis points to 5.75% in its bi-monthly monetary policy on June 6, 2019. The latest cut is an addition to the earlier two rate cuts made by the central bank in February and April this year. What’s also significant is that the RBI has changed its policy stance to accommodative from neutral.

RBI Guidelines February 2019 Update

The RBI in its bi-monthly monetary policy review held on February 7 has lowered its repo rate (key lending rate) by 25 basis points to 6.25 percent. The committee has also decided to change its monetary policy stance to ‘neutral’ from ‘calibrated tightening’, indicating higher chances of the further rate cut in the coming months if inflation persists within tolerable limits.

Effect of Repo Rate Cut on Loans

The repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends to commercial banks for their short-term requirements. Usually, when RBI cuts repo rate, banks typically pass on the benefit to the customer and if that happens, auto and home loan borrowers have a reason to cheer as their EMIs are likely to get cheaper. Yes, home loan and auto loans are typically priced at a floating rate, which means whenever the repo rate is reduced by RBI, banks will gradually pass on the lower rate benefit to the borrowers. Also, the reverse will happen when repo rates go up.

Now that RBI has decided to reduce the repo rate, which means lenders may cut their Marginal Cost of Funds Based Lending Rates (MCLR), making loan EMIs cheaper.

Possible Impact of Repo Rate Cut on Home Loan Post February 2019 update

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So, let’s just have a better understanding of the rate cut on a home loan of Rs.50,00,000, taken for a tenure of 30 years.

ParticularsExisting Home Loan ScenarioNew Home Loan Scenario
Loan Amount50,00,00050,00,000
Interest Rate8.80% per annum8.55% per annum
Tenure30 Years30 Years
EMI₹ 39,514₹ 38,623
Interest₹ 92,24,935₹ 89,04,277

NOTE – The above illustration is for informative purpose only. The exact gradient of rate cuts can be presented when banks start passing on the benefits to the loan seekers.

As you can clearly see the difference in EMIs comes out to be ₹ 891 but if we talk about the Interest Outgo, one can save ₹ 3,20,658. So, all you home loan borrowers, get ready to reduce your loan burden by getting affordable EMIs.

RBI guidelines December 2018 update – What it means for loan borrowers

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kept its repo rate unchanged at 6.50% in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy held on December 5, 2018, In this meet, RBI has asked all the banks to adopt new external benchmark rates for MSME loans such as home loans and car loans from April 1, 2019.

New Benchmarks for floating rate loans as per RBI in 2019

RBI has made it mandatory for all banks to link all new floating rate loans to one of the following:

  1. Reserve Bank of India policy repo rate
  2. Government of India 91 days Treasury Bill yield produced by the Financial Benchmarks India Private Ltd (FBIL)
  3. Government of India 182 days Treasury Bill yield produced by the FBIL
  4. Any other benchmark market interest rate produced by the FBIL

Existing Interest Rate Benchmark – MCLR

Marginal Cost of Lending Rate (MCLR) is associated with floating rate home loans. A change in repo rate decides whether MCLR is beneficial for you or not. MCLR depends on:

  • Tenor premium
  • Operating costs of the bank
  • Negative carry on Cash Reserve Ratio, and
  • Marginal cost of funds

As per RBI guidelines, MCLR functions as follows:

  • Fixed rate home loan is not affected by MCLR.
  • Deposit balances and other borrowings are considered while computation of marginal cost of funds.
  • Banks must publish marginal cost of funds based lending rate for different tenures.
  • MCLR as on the sanction date of the floating rate home loan stands the same till next reset date.
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Banks review MCLR for the following tenures:

  • Overnight
  • Fortnight
  • One month
  • Three months
  • One year
  • Two years
  • Three years

Different Benchmarks as per RBI guidelines in 2019

Repo rate is the rate at which RBI lends money to commercial banks. After the replacement of existing benchmark (MCLR) with a new benchmark which could either be Repo rate or 91 days Treasury Bill or 182 days Treasury Bill, home loan rates are likely to increase. So let us see the difference between existing and new guidelines.

S.No.FactorsAverage MCLR at different lenders (Existing Benchmark)Repo Rate (New Benchmark)91 days Treasury Bill (New Benchmark)182 days Treasury Bill (New Benchmark)
2Reset PeriodYearlyBi-Monthly3 months6 months
3Methodologies adopted to ascertain benchmarksTenor premium, Operating cost of the bank, Negative carry on Cash reserve Ration, and Marginal cost of fundsInflation, Liquidity, and other macroeconomic indicators.Money market movementsMoney market movements

Impact of New Interest Rate Benchmark on Home Loans in 2019

On the basis of existing average MCLR and average spread in the market, the lowest home loan rate is 8.80% per annum. Banks will be switching to new benchmark with an average of 6.80%. Over this rate, banks will apply their spread. So, even though change from MCLR to any of the above mentioned benchmarks will bring transparency in the process, loans may get cheaper.

The reason behind this is that, floating rates on loans have a spread over the benchmark rate and RBI has asked banks to fix this spread throughout the loan tenure. This spread will be fixed throughout the tenure unless a borrower’s credit assessment undergoes a substantial change and as agreed upon in the loan contract. So, continuous EMI payment becomes important to avoid rate hike and a smoother transparent process during the loan tenure.

What should home loan borrowers do?

There are three categories of borrowers in the market today. Each of the category of borrowers would have a different impact and thus different solutions.

  1. New home loan borrowers – Those who are planning to take a home loan for the first time may wait a bit longer as there are only 4 months left for the implementation of new benchmark rate. Also, interest subsidy scheme – PMAY is also available till March 2019. So, to get the benefit of these two, you can plan to take a home loan as soon as possible.
  2. Existing home loan borrowers with loans linked to MCLR – The increase in home loan EMI is possible after the reset date of lending rate. On the reset date, your new EMI will be calculated on the basis of the new interest rate applicable as per the new lending rate benchmark. Many banks and NBFCs have increased their lending rate due to rise in cost of deposits even though RBI has kept its repo rate unchanged. So, as an existing home loan borrower, you may compare all the available options and balance transfer to a lower rate.
  3. Existing home loan borrowers with loans linked to Base Rate – There are few borrowers who have their home loans still linked to base rate and not MCLR rates. Such borrowers may switch their home loan to MCLR as of now because there is no clarity on how the rate is going to change in the future. So, to be on the safer side, converting your existing base rate linked home loan to MCLR is better.
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Impact of New RBI Guidelines on Real Estate in 2019

The real estate is likely to reinforce confidence in the home buyers which would then result in improved sales. In another decision, RBI issued final guidelines regarding stipulating a mandatory loan component in working capital finance for borrowers.

Change in Lending Rates in the recent years

In 2016, banks were asked to change floating rate loans from base rate to MCLR as per RBI guidelines. The purpose was to bring more transparency in the home loan process. However, this year, MCLRs of banks are rising constantly resulting in raising the home loan rates.

Again after 2 years, RBI has taken an initiative and this time it has asked to bring in external benchmark (repo rate, 91 treasury bill, 182 treasury bill or any other FBIL) for floating rate loans. Unlike now, lenders have different interest rate benchmark and spread on the basis of which they offer loans. The customers had no choice and had to take a home loan with that MCLR only.

Post the implementation of new guidelines, benchmark rate will be decided by RBI which means it will be same at all lenders. Talking about the spread part, it will be negotiable on the basis of credit assessment done by the lender. Those having a good profile (high CIBIL score and income) would have maximum eligibility for a lower rate.

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