RBI Increases Loans On Realty

Reserve Bank of India, Kolkata

The Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to set aside more pelf for loans to realty projects which may eventually make borrowing more costly for builders. An increase in capital requirement will force banks to hike the rate of interest on such loans.

SA Bhat, chairman and managing director of Indian Overseas Bank gave his perception saying “If RBI does not raise cash reserve ratio and keep signalling rates undisturbed, my feeling is that it may strictly check the prudential norms. A hike in risk weight, particularly on real estate loans, is not ruled out.” According to the latest available data, banks exposure to commercial real estate is approximately Rs 88,581 cr.

The money that is kept aside to calculate adequacy ratio is called the Risk Weight which is 9% for all banks. Banks have to set aside less capital for borrowers with higher credit rating. For a triple A clients, the risk weight is 20%, which means banks have set aside Rs 1.80 of its own capital for every Rs 100 loan to such borrowers.

The risk weight for realty sector companies is 100%,  that is Rs 9 have to be kept aside for every Rs 100 loan to builders. This may increase to 125 percent or even 150 percent in the policy that are yet to come. To help builders and banks cope with the crises, RBI had lowered it to 100% from 150% during the decline.

As said by Hemindra Hazari, head of research Karvy Stock Broking said “Government and banks released real estate companies by financing them. Prices did not come off significantly because the growth in the realty sector was higher than the overall credit growth.Revival in the sector has landed in hike in the realty prices and now RBI may need to make an effort to lower down prices.”

Unlike personal loans, which increase only 0.7% as banks slowed down when customers began to default, they continued lending to builders. It was not justified since it meant financing a high risk sector.This did not dropped the realty prices to the extent that it actually should.Some bankers think that RBI may raise standard provisioning on commercial real estate loan, which is now at 1%. It is the money that banks set aside from their earnings on standard loans to protect their books if the borrower defaults.