Bankers rule out slashing lending, deposit rates

Written by PTI | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 1 2014, 02:18am hrs
Bankers today ruled out lowering deposit and lending rates in the near future after the Reserve Bank left all the key policy rates unchanged on enduring worries on inflation front.

While large banks skirted a direct answer on repricing of assets or liabilities, Bank of India head V R Iyer was very forthcoming, saying there is no room for any rate cut soon.

"We do not expect any movement in interest rates in near future as a consequence of policy measures," Iyer said.

On deposit rates, Chanda Kochhar, ICICI Bank MD, said her bank doesn't wait for a year to change deposit rates and they watch them on a dynamic basis.

"It is the question of not just the rates across the system, but a question of your own liquidity situation as well as the credit off-take that you see. I think today everyone is kind of balancing that...there is no change immediately on cards, but that doesn't mean that one will wait for a year to see it (rate cut)," she said.

HDFC Bank Managing Director Aditya Puri highlighted correlation between credit-deposit rates and credit demand.

"Both the lending and deposit rates are a function of credit demand, which currently is not exceedingly healthy. If credit demand picks you would see a lowering on deposit rates.

"If it doesn't pick up, and there is a lowering of deposit rates, you can possibly see some reduction on the asset rates," Puri said, addressing the press at the customary post-policy meeting at the RBI headquarters here.

SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said RBI's move was widely expected.

"The RBI move to maintain status-quo was as per market expectations. The policy statement reinforces that any adjustments in the repo rate will be data dependent in future, but in the same breath mentions that near-term inflation risks are on the downside and that disinflationary trends are getting entrenched."

However, she was quick to add that the tone of the policy seemed a bit dovish compared to March. "If you see the fan charts it shows that the possibility of downside are more than the upside risks. There are disinflationary trends which are now getting entrenched," Bhattacharya said.

Describing the policy stance as on expected lines, Kochhar said the move underscores the stability of thinking in monetary policy.