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Aug 30, 2012, 10.00 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

SBI to cut processing and conversion fees on home loans

With the advent of festival season India’s largest lender – SBI has embarked upon a special campaign to ramp up its home loan book. It is going to reduce the processing fee for home loans to Rs.1,000 per loan irrespective of the size. The offer would be made available from September 01 onwards, a senior bank official told moneycontrol.com.

Saikat Das
moneycontrol.com

With the advent of festival season India's largest lender - the State Bank of India (SBI) has embarked upon a special campaign to ramp up its home loan book. It is going to reduce the processing fee for home loans to Rs.1000 per loan irrespective of the size. The offer would be made available from September 01 onwards, a senior bank official told moneycontrol.com.

Currently, loan processing is at 0.25% of the loan amount subject to a cap of Rs 6,500 for loans upto Rs.75 lakhs. For any higher loan amount, the maximum fee ceiling is Rs.10,000.  For example, if you apply for a loan of Rs. 20 lakhs, you need to pay a processing charge of Rs.1000/- With the new offer, it will be uniform at Rs.1,000 for a home loan. However, the offer would end on 30th November, 2012.

At the same time, the banking behemoth is actively mulling reduction in conversion fee which is presently at 1%. For all banks, conversion fees are in the range of 0.50-2%. This move, if implemented, will help the existing (SBI) home loan customers, who are not entitled to get the benefit of reduced interest rates to avail of the lowered interest rates. Let’s assume the loan size is Rs.30 lakhs and a customer has already repaid Rs.10 lakhs. Therefore, he has to pay Rs.20,000/-(i.e. 1% of 30-10 lakhs) one-time upfront for the conversion.

Earlier, SBI cut the interest rates on home and auto loans by over 50 basis points, effective from August 07. However, it did not change the base rate (remains at 10% p.a), the benchmark rate below which the Reserve Bank of India does not allow any bank to lend. Now, a home loan borrower can avail of a home loan with interest at 10.25% as against 10.75% prior to the rate cut, for a ticket size of Rs 30 lakhs. The interest rate will be 10.40% for loans above Rs. 30 lakhs. The EMI on Home Loan tenor of 30 years is Rs.897 per lakh which is the lowest in the market.

However, the new rates are available only to the new customers. So, a customer who had taken a loan at a higher floating rate viz. 11.25% will be keen to avail the benefit of the current lower rate. So, he can convert his loan to the new rate by paying the conversion fee.

"Those proposed moves by RBI will certainly benefit customers, who should tap opportunities right in time. However, the bank cannot just keep on doing this beyond a point as it may hurt their margins," said Anil Rego, CEO and founder, Rights Horizons, a Bangalore based advisory firm.

With 26% market share, SBI continues to be the leader in home loan market followed by the privately held housing finance company- HDFC .

"We have got some surplus funds after RBI cut statutory liquidity ratio by 1% to 23%. We have decided to utilize it in expanding our retail business. The Bank is aiming at 20-25% growth in its home loan portfolio. As the country's largest bank, we have a vital role to play in supporting the economy", said the official. 

As of July, SBI's home loan portfolio stood at around Rs 1.06 lakh plus crores. Total retail loans stood at Rs 1.86 lakh crores in the April-June quarter.

Also read: Reasons to cheer: Bank home loans set to become cheaper

To facilitate home loan borrowers, it is planning to upload the list of housing projects, approved by the bank shortly.  The bank has tied up with 1,046 such projects across India till July in 2012-13. In order to enlist its projects, a builder has to meet certain norms prescribed by SBI.

For listed projects, the bank sanctions home loans in 4-5 days while it takes around 14 days to approve a home loan for other housing constructions. The lender offers a loan to value (LTV) of 90% for home loans upto Rs 20 lakhs and upto 80% for loans above Rs 20 lakhs.

saikat.das@network18online.com

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