Country's largest lender, State Bank of India will cut marginal cost-based lending rates (MCLR) across maturities by 5 basis points. The new rates will come into effect on Wednesday. The rate cut will be SBI's first lending rate cut in 10 months. SBI, which accounts for more than a fifth of India's banking assets, will lower the 1-year MCLR to 7.95 percent from 8 per cent, according to a notification on Tuesday.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had earlier suggested bringing in place an external benchmark rate to link lending rates for faster transmission of rate cuts to the borrowers by the banks. In April 2016, RBI came up with a new benchmark-MCLR for faster transmission of rate cuts. However, varying reset periods under the same and tweaking by banks led to considerable time lag in full transmission of the rate cut, thereby defeating its whole purpose.
The RBI last year unveiled the MCLR, which sought to remove much of the discretion commercial banks have to set lending rates. But to its frustration, the pace of bank lending rate cuts has lagged the reduction in policy rates, which fell by a total 200 basis points since January 2015.
The RBI is keen for banks to lower lending rates further to accelerate credit growth and private investment in an economy growing at its slowest in more than three years. Bank loans last financial year grew at their slowest pace in more than six decades.
Flush with deposits after a surprise scrapping of high-value notes last year, banks led by SBI had last sharply cut lending rates under the MCLR system in early January.
The State Bank of India had earlier revised the minimum account balance for its savings accounts, as well as the penalties for non-maintenance of minimum balance, on Monday. The major change was been made with respect to savings accounts in metro cities, where SBI account holders will now have to maintain a monthly average balance (MAB) of Rs 3,000, instead of Rs 5,000.
with Reuters inputs