The moratorium period can be extended by a maximum of 2 years, India’s largest lender said Monday, setting the tone for other banks, specially PSU players.
In line with RBI’s one-time relief, the scheme is available to borrowers who had availed of a home loan before March 1, 2020 and were regular in repayments until the Covid-19 lockdown.
But the borrowers will have to demonstrate that their income has been hit because of the pandemic.
“For the purpose of restructuring, the bank will depend entirely on the customer’s assessment of when they expect their income to be normalised or to get employed,” said SBI managing director C S Setty said while announcing the scheme.
The country’s largest lender has been the first to roll out a protocol for restructuring loans of retail borrowers who were affected by Covid-19. Other lenders including HDFC and ICICI Bank are expected to follow suit before the end of the month.
To facilitate borrowers to understand their eligibility for restructuring, SBI has launched an online portal to enable borrowers check their eligibility for all retail loans. This includes home, education, auto, and other personal loans.
The restructuring will give breathing space for a borrower until their income is normalised or they get re-employed. Also, they will not be classified as defaulters or non-performing assets. The downside is that the bank will charge 35 basis points extra as interest since the RBI needs them to set aside additional provisions for these loans. This means that despite initial relief over the tenure of the loan, the borrower will end up paying more than on a regular loan without restructuring.
“We have put in place a scheme for restructuring and it is available to borrowers through our internal portal. We have also intimated borrowers but don’t expect much of traction for restructuring given the inquiries,” said Rajkiran Rai, MD & CEO, Union Bank of India.
HDFC Bank has put in place a facility to submit online applications. The bank has said that it will report the loan to the credit bureau as ‘restructured’ and as per norms, all loans availed will be classified as restructured even if only one loan is being restructured.
“The dues for the moratorium period can be capitalised. Or else it will be very strenuous for the borrower to repay. Capitalising the dues will reduce the pressure on the borrower and we are also working on this by elongating the term of the loan,” said Siddhartha Mohanty, MD & CEO, LIC Housing Finance. He added that even if the loan term is extended, typically home loan borrowers end up pre-paying their loans by seven to ten years.
Borrowers who access SBI’s portal for restructuring will still have to visit the branch as a ‘wet signature’ is required for the loan document to be reworked. The portal will however take care of all the queries of the borrower. “It is not an end-to-end process but it will reduce the need for customers to visit branches especially during this time of Covid,” said Setty.