Investment Alerts

HDFC hikes lending rates

HDFC, one of the largest providers of housing finance, raised its lending rates by up to 20 basis points. The increased retail prime lending rate, on which the company benchmarks the adjustable rate for home loans, is effective from April 1. The rate hike is in the 0.05-0.2 per cent range, with the lowest hike applicable to the low-ticket size loan. An interest rate of 8.4 per cent, the lowest rate offered by the lender, is applicable on a loan up to ₹30 lakh by a woman borrower, while it is 8.45 per cent for men. Loans between ₹30 lakh and ₹75 lakh will be available at 8.55 percent for women borrowers and 8.6 per cent for men. Loans above ₹75 lakh can be obtained at 8.65 per cent by women and at 8.7 per cent by men.

AU Bank increases savings rate

AU Small Finance Bank has recently announced an increase in interest rates on its savings accounts. The new rates will be effective from April 11, 2018. For savings account balances between ₹10 lakh and ₹10 crore, the rate has been increased by 25 basis points to 6.75 per cent per annum. For savings account balances between ₹1 lakh and ₹10 lakh, the rate has been revised by 50 basis points to 6.50 per cent per annum, while for balances below ₹1 lakh, the rate has been left unchanged at 5 per cent.

Pension disbursal made easier

The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has made a few tweaks to the existing norms on disbursal of pension funds to make the process easier. Earlier, a pensioner had to submit the digital life certificate, Jeevan Pramaan, and Aadhaar to the bank to receive pension . There were many complaints that the pensioners were turned away and denied their dues for want of Aadhaar or failure of Aadhaar fingerprint authentication.

Now, EPFO has directed banks to release the funds to those pensioners who do not have Aadhaar numbers but have enrolled for Aadhaar, by accepting the life certificate and Aadhaar enrolment number.

In the case of pensioners who were denied pension due to fingerprint authentication, the banks are directed to provide for iris scanners along with fingerprint scanner authentication. In cases where both iris and finger print authentication fail, the pensioners are requested to carry a physical copy of their Aadhaar cards. The Aadhaar cards printed after April 1, 2018, have a QR code that can be scanned by the banks.

Tighter norms for remittances

Under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), all resident individuals, including minors, are allowed to freely remit up to $2,50,000 per financial year for any permissible current or capital account transaction or a combination of both. Currently, the remittance is permitted by banks based on the declaration made by the remitter that it is within the limits.

In order to improve monitoring and also ensure compliance with the LRS limits, it has been decided to put in place a daily reporting system by banks on transactions undertaken by individuals under LRS. Therefore, one has to double-check if his/her outward remittances are within the limit to avoid any complications.

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