NHB hopes for more easing in ECB norms for housing fin cos

NHB hopes for more easing in ECB norms for housing fin cos Mumbai: The National Housing Bank Monday said it is looking forward to relaxations in external commercial borrowing norms for housing finance companies (HFCs) to enable larger number of players to tap the route.

"We are expecting to modify some of the features (with regard to ECBs), which are a little restrictive now," NHB Chairman and Managing Director R V Verma told reporters here.

This is being considered by RBI and the government to allow more players, he added.

"The RBI has already sent its recommendations to the government which are being considered on share capital and networth of HFCs," Verma said.

The existing norms with regard to Rs 50 crore of paid-up capital and Rs 300 crore of net-owned funds (NOFs) are being examined to allow more players in the ECB fold, he said.

The RBI had allowed real estate developers, developing low-cost housing, and housing finance companies to raise up to USD 1 billion through ECBs last fiscal.

Verma also pointed out that the ECB limit for FY'14 would be determined after exhausting the limit for FY'13. The NHB has also sought some clarifications from the Finance Ministry regarding tax exemption in securitisation deals.

"We are awaiting some clarifications from the Finance Ministry with regard to securitisation," Verma said, adding that the housing finance regulator will go ahead with the proposed Rs 200-crore securitisation deals after the clarification.

The FY14 Budget has provisions to exempt securitisation trusts from taxation.

On loan disbursements, Verma said the NHB plans to increase loan growth by 20 percent next fiscal. (NHB follows July-June financial year).

"We plan 20 percent growth in loan disbursement to Rs 20,000-21,000 crore in the next fiscal from Rs 17,000 crore target of this financial year," he said.

Verma also pointed out that the proposed Urban Housing Fund would start in one month.

This year's Budget has provisions for setting up an Urban Housing Fund to support affordable housing in urban areas.