The last decade has witnessed an unprecedented growth trend due to the development of organised retail and IT sector, expansion of large corporate houses to the upcoming metros and state capitals and the increased disposable income in the hands of Indian youth. Owning a home is no longer a after 40 affair. The increasing trend among the Indian youth is to own a home in the early thirties. The sky rocketing price of real estate is also fuelling the scenario. Real estate is no longer associated with the mere residence purpose, rather treated as a smart investment option.
However with the rising interest rates and mounting inflation the home loan customers are little bit annoyed. To counter this ,banks are beginning to encourage them to partly prepay their loans without any penalty or a decreased penalty. Earlier all the banks in the home loan segment were doing with prepayment penalty. India's largest bank, the State Bank of India is encouraging prepayment without penalty clauses even if the consumer has crossed banks' annual prepayment limit. ICICI bank has followed the suit to insulate home loan customers from rising interest rates.
The redemption of early payment penalty has come up with the increased Repo rate of the RBI. Repo is the rate at which the central bank lends money to bank in the banking system. The central bank has also increased the cash reserve ratio or the CRR. The cash reserve ratio is the percentage of deposits banks must keep with the apex bank. as the CRR and the Repo rate has been increased, the banks were bound to increase the home loan rate and as a consequent result home loan EMI increased. Most of the Indian banks raised their lending rates 50 basis points to 100 basis points. The state bank of India has raised its rates by 50 basis points while private players like ICICI Bank and HDFC by 75 basis points. In such an expensive credit situation, in order to give respite to the customers the banks are looking at aggressively encouraging part-prepayment. The tight liquidity conditions and the high cost of funds will be some how countered by this facility.
The penalty free prepayment facility will help banks to access cheap funds from consumers and this fund can be redeployed to high interest earning segments like personal loan plans and corporate loan plans .The number one private bank, ICICI, allows its customers to prepay most of the home loan but made it mandatory for the last 12 months' home loan EMI to continue. Simply, the customer can make repayment of 14 years if the loan plan is of 15 years.
The prepayment penalty of home loan was of 2-3 per cent on the amount paid (over and above the cap). the banks used to levy such penalty because the lose out on the interest income. Since the banks are encouraging the customers to prepay the loan amount due to the hike in interest rate, they are avoiding the penalty for any early payment. According to the Industry estimate, 15 -20 per cent that customers will repay without any penalty.
However the waiver of penalty is not followed by the banks without any discrimination. Some of the Public sector banks are considering the penalty waiver on a case-to-case basis when customers prepay to keep home loan EMI and tenure unchanged. When the customer has taken another loan to prepay the home loan, the banks charge him a fee and it is treated as a source of fund generation for the banks.