Lending rates have trended downwards over the last two years. Currently, several lenders are offering home loans at an interest rate of 8.35 per cent, way lower than the 10-11 per cent rate that prevailed four years ago. For customers this translates into a lower Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) on an existing loan, or allows them to borrow more to finance a bigger home. As they begin the process of short listing a loan provider, customers may find themselves wondering whether they should borrow from a bank or an NBFC (non-banking financial company). Here’s a look at some of the key criteria that will help you make this decision.
MCLR vs PLR
All new loans with floating interest rates offered by banks are now linked to the Marginal Cost of Lending Rate (MCLR). This departure from the base rate regime began on April 1, 2016. The MCLR serves as a bank’s lending benchmark, upon which they charge an interest rate spread. For example, for home loans up to Rs 30 lakh, a leading bank has a spread of 35-40 basis points above its one-year MCLR of 8 per cent. An MCLR-linked loan clearly mentions the intervals at which its interest rate will automatically change. In a falling interest rate scenario, this allows customers to receive RBI-mandated rate cuts in a transparent, time-bound manner. This wasn’t the case with the base rate-linked loans where transmission of rate cuts was weaker.
On the other hand, loans by Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) and NBFCs are not linked to the MCLR. They are linked to the Prime Lending Rate (PLR), which is outside the ambit of the RBI. While banks can’t lend at rates below the MCLR, PLR-linked loans do not have such restrictions. NBFCs and HFCs are free to set their PLR. This allows NBFCs greater freedom to increase or decrease their loan rates as per their selling requirements. This suits customers and provides them more options, especially when they fail to meet the loan eligibility criteria of banks. This also needs to be understood in context of a customer’s credit score, explained below.
Loan to value ratio
The actual cost of property acquisition typically goes up to 105-110 per cent of the property value, including cost of stamp duty, registration, and an assortment of payments towards brokerage, furnishing, repairs, etc. Based on where you are in India, you may pay between 3 and 11 per cent of the property value as registration cost. Banks are allowed to fund up to 80 per cent of a property’s value. For example, if you are buying a property worth Rs 50 lakh, you may receive a loan of Rs 40 lakh from banks. The other 25-30 per cent of your fund requirements would have to be met by you. Often, these last mile costs weigh heavily on the final decision to buy a property. Both NBFCs and banks are not allowed to fund stamp duty and registration costs. However, NBFCs can include these costs as part of a property’s market valuation. This allows the customer to borrow a larger amount as per his eligibility, thus giving the NBFC an edge over competition.