Millennium Post

Now, banks can lend `10 lakh against infra bonds

RBI on Thursday allowed banks to extend loans up to Rs 10 lakh to individuals against long-term infrastructure bonds issued by them, thus easing loan norms for low-cost housing.

‘In order to provide liquidity to retail investors in such bonds, it has been decided that banks can extend loans to individuals against long-term bonds issued by them,’ RBI said in a notification.

Such loans, the RBI said should be subject to ‘a ceiling, say, Rs 10 lakh per borrower, and tenure of loan should be within the maturity period of the bonds’.

However, banks are not permitted to lend against such bonds issued by other banks. Earlier, RBI had exempted long term bonds raised by banks from mandatory regulatory norms like CRR and SLR if the money raised is used for funding of such projects. The RBI, in its communication addressed to the banks, said boards of the banks should lay down a policy in this regard prescribing suitable margins, purpose of the loan and other safeguards.

In the Union Budget 2014-15 presented  by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, government had said that ‘banks will be encouraged to extend long term loans to infrastructure sector with flexible structuring to absorb potential adverse contingencies, sometimes known as the 5/25 structure’.

In July, RBI had said that affordable housing is a segment of the economy which both require long term funding and is of critical importance and said it will ease the way for banks to raise long term resources.

‘This will help promote both growth and stability, as well as improve the supply side,’ RBI had said.

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