New Delhi: The Reserve Bank Wednesday directed all non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) not to sanction loan beyond 60 percent of the value of gold jewellery.
Incidentally the directive follows government proposing a hike in import duty on the precious metal and imposition of excise duty on unbranded-jewellery.
"It has been decided that all NBFCs shall hereafter maintain a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio not exceeding 60 percent for loans granted against the collateral of gold jewellery," RBI said in a notification.
Experts are of view that besides imposing higher margins on loan-to-value, it could be the RBI move to step in and keep a check on gold loans disbursed by any gold loan companies and to regulate interest rates on gold loans and penalties.
Tightening norms for NBFCs that are engaged in gold loan business, RBI said that they are predominantly involved in lending against the collateral of gold jewellery have recorded significant growth in recent years both in terms of size of their balance sheet and physical presence.
"This, in turn, has led to their increased dependence on public funds including bank finance and non-convertible debentures issued to retail investors," it said, adding that all NBFCs should disclose in their balance sheet the percentage of such loans to their total assets.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Budget proposed raising custom duty on gold from 2 percent to 4 percent.
In last 11 months of the current fiscal, gold import resulted in outgo of USD 60 billion from the forex reserve.
The RBI further said that the NBFCs whose financial assets consist of loans against gold jewellery to the tune of 50 percent or more, will have to maintain 12 percent tier-I capital by April 1, 2014.
Given the rapid pace of their business growth and the nature of their business model, this has inherent concentration risk and is exposed to adverse movement of gold prices as a prudential measure.
In order to ensure rules for customer protection, the RBI may also introduce quality checks when gold is returned to the customer by the gold loan companies.
First Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 22:25