When buying a house, we all want to get the best deal on the home loan we avail as it is probably the longest financial commitment we will make impacting our overall portfolio and expenses. However, deciding on the right financial institution to avail the loan from is a rather tricky task, given the market is competitive.
With the rise of non-banking financial corporations (NBFCs) in India, the choice has only gotten wider as customers can now choose not only among banks, but also NBFCs. But did you know that availing a home loan from a bank and an NBFC may seem similar, but work in very different ways?
Banks and NBFCs follow different guidelines when it comes to lending and, thus, home loans disbursed by them are also done on certain different parameters. Find out how these two differ when it comes to assessing an individual for a home loan and which one can you resort to for your home loan.
1. Interest Rates: MCLR vs PLR
Banks operate their housing loan interest rates based on Marginal Cost of Lending Rate (MCLR), which serves as their lending benchmark and is closely monitored by the RBI. On the other hand, loans by Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) and NBFCs are not linked to the MCLR. They are linked to the Prime Lending Rate (PLR), which is outside the ambit of the RBI. So while banks can’t lend at rates below the MCLR, PLR-linked loans do not have such restrictions.
Banks have both floating and fixed rates, of which before only floating rates felt the occasional impact of MCLR. But in February this year it was announced by the RBI that all new loans whether with floating interest rates or base rates will be linked to the MCLR.
An MCLR-linked loan clearly mentions the intervals at which its interest rate will automatically change. In a falling interest rate scenario, this allows customers to receive RBI-mandated rate cuts in a transparent, time-bound manner.
As NBFCs and HFCs are free to set their PLR, it gives them greater freedom to increase or decrease their loan rates as per their selling requirements. This sometimes suits customers and provides them more options, especially when they fail to meet the loan eligibility criteria of banks. But in many cases, for those who easily meet the criteria this may also result in inflated interest rates compared to banks.
2. Loan Eligibility via Credit Score
As paperless financial technology takes prominence, more and more lenders are depending on credit scores to determine loan eligibility. While there are upper caps set on interest rates through MCLR and PLR, the actual interest rate you pay on your loan is linked to your credit score. Leading lenders are known to offer their best rates to customers with a CIBIL score of 750 or more.
While both banks and NBFCs consider credit scores carefully, NBFCs tend to have more relaxed policies towards customers with low credit scores. However, with a very low score, both banks and NBFCs will likely charge you a higher interest rate. In some cases, banks may ask to convert the home loan into a secured loan by mortgaging some asset if the credit criteria is not met, but you still need the loan.
A customer with a low score can in fact start with a loan from an NBFC. Through timely repayment, s/he can improve his credit score. After this, once the bank’s eligibility criteria is met, the loan balance can be transferred to a bank.
To keep yourself ready, make sure to access credit reports by CIBIL or Experian. This will allow you to be ready even before you approach a lender. Since credit scores change every quarter, you can take your time to improve it before you decide to avail the loan in order to get a better rate of interest and disbursal amount.
Major Difference in Home Loans Between Banks and NBFCs
|Eligibility Criteria||Stringent with detailed checks||Easier and faster|
|Interest Rate Benchmark||MCLR||PLR-Spread|
|Passing interest rate benefit to borrowers||Not much room for existing borrowers||High chance for existing and new borrowers to benefit from discounts|
|Interest Rates||Rate of interest will be comparatively lower||Mostly higher than banks but depend on the property and applicant|
3. Loan Amount
The actual cost of property is never just the selling price promoted by developers and builders. During acquisition it typically goes up as other costs like stamp duty, registration, an assortment of payments towards brokerage, furnishing, repairs and more always add up. Based on where you are in India, you may have to pay between 3 and 11 per cent of the property value as registration cost alone.
Banks are allowed to fund up to 80% of a property’s value. For example, if you are buying a property worth Rs 50 lakh, you may receive a loan of Rs 40 lakh from banks excluding the registration cost and associated charges of course. The rest of the fund requirements would have to be met by you and often these last mile costs weigh heavily on the final decision to buy a property.
Although both NBFCs and banks are not allowed to fund stamp duty and registration costs, NBFCs can include these costs as part of a property’s market valuation. This allows the customer to borrow a larger amount as per his eligibility.
4. Pre-Payment, Foreclosure and Late Payment Charges
Just like other loans, home loans also have associated charges attached. Both banks and NBFCs will have charges for pre-payment and foreclosure but NBFCs tend to charge much higher. In addition, late payment charges by NBFCs may sometimes be close to 10 or 20% of your monthly EMI, giving you no respite in case you default on any payment. NBFCs also tend to have higher processing fees, although some banks may charge similar amounts.
Whoever the lender may be, make sure to calculate you future interests and factor in additional costs associated with your repayment as home loans range between 10 and 30 years and you may have to bear such high charges in future.
(The writer is CEO at Bankbazaar.com)