New Delhi: State-owned Central Bank of India Friday said it will cut interest rates on housing and other loans by up to 0.5 percent from September 1.
"We have decided to reduce the rate of interest on the car loans. We have decided (to cut)... Housing loan rate by 25 to 50 basis on houses between Rs 30-35 lakh.
These will be effective from September 1," Central Bank of India Chairman and Managing Director M V Tanksale told reporters on the sidelines of a PHDCCI function here.
The decision to lower rate comes within a week of Finance Minister P Chidambaram asking the PSU banks to cut interest rates with a view to boosting sales of consumer goods and promoting growth. The Minister had cited the example of SBI on how EMI reduction boosted sales of cars.
"We all appreciate and agree that there is a necessity for fuelling the growth engine...The best way to fuel the growth engine is to offer some consumer durable loans at a lesser rate," Tanksale said.
The Central Bank chief, however, made it clear that the reduction of interest rates by 0.25 to 0.5 percent would only be on selected products.
The Central Bank, he added, was not contemplating reduction in base rate -- the minimum interest rate below which bank does not provide credit.
Commenting on SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri's suggestion of doing away with the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), Tanksale said, "the only thing I would like to say (is) that 3 percent CRR should be there".
Moreover, he added, "these are the monetary tools in the hands of the regulator (RBI). CRR cut will help me in more liquidity at a lesser cost".
Tanksale also pitched for increasing lending to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and other priority sector like agriculture. Tanksale said couple of banks, including his own, were not meeting the obligation of 40 percent of the net bank credit to the priority sector.
"And thus obviously we will have to probably redirect our focus to give more and more focus to the SME sector and the priority sector lending to reach to that 40 percent level," he said.
Replying to a question on rising non-performing assets (NPAs), Tanksale said, "when the economy is not doing well, how do you expect that the asset quality to really remain good."
First Published: Friday, August 24, 2012, 18:52