RBI expects banks to cut 'interest rates'

New Delhi: Reserve Bank Deputy Governor S S Mundra on Friday said that he expects banks to cut interest rates as the central bank has already lowered policy rates twice in quick succession.

"RBI, in very short period of time, has cut repo rate twice. It is expected from the bankers that they pass on the benefits to consumers," he said on the sidelines of an event here. The Reserve Bank has lowered interest rates by 0.50 per cent since January 2015, but banks are yet to pass on the benefits to borrowers.

The latest cut was done on March 4 when RBI reduced repo rate from 7.75 per cent to 7.50 per cent. It was prompted by inflation remaining low and came within days of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announcing in the Union Budget that the government is committed to fiscal consolidation.

Meanwhile, banks have said that they will wait till the next bi-monthly monetary policy review of the RBI on April 7 before cutting interest rates. "Coming April, after seeing RBI monetary policy statement, banks can start considering reduction in the rate... We can reduce anywhere from 10 basis points to 25 basis points," Bank of India Chairman V R Iyer had said.

"The transmission will definitely take place... Banks also have to keep asset quality in mind before passing on the benefit of rate cut. That is a guiding factor for any bank to reduce lending rate," he had said.

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