October 23, 2020
As a part of relief measures announced in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Finance, on October 23, 2020, issued a scheme for grant of ex-gratia payment of difference between compound and simple interest. The period to be considered for this payment would be 184 days, from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020. This applies to borrowers with aggregate loans (with all banks) upto that INR 20 million (INR 2 crores). This is subject to the condition that the account should be categorised as ‘standard’ i.e. the account shouldn’t have been declared an Non Performing Assets at any time as on February 29, 2020.
The banks would be required to submit their claims for reimbursements with State Bank of India (SBI). SBI would be the nodal agency for disbursement of funds to such other banks.
In case any compound interest has been paid by the borrowers, the same shall be refunded to the extent of difference between the simple interest and the compound interest. The rates applicable would differ as under:
- Education, housing, cars, personal loans to professionals, consumptions loans, consumer durable loans and terms loans to MSMEs as per the agreement
- Cash credit overdraft facilities to MSMEs as per the rates applicable as on February 29, 2020
- Credit card dues as per the Weighted Average Lending Rate (WALR) charged by card issuer for transactions charged on EMI basis. The WALR has to be certified by the statutory auditor of the card issuer.
- In case no interest has been charged on the Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) for specific period then as per lenders’ base rate or marginal cost of funds based lending (MCLR), whichever is applicable
The Scheme provides that this exercise would be completed by lending institutions by November 5, 2020. Further, lending institutions would be required to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for eligible borrowers within 1-week from October 23, 2020.
The Scheme is in consonance with submissions made by the Central Government before the Supreme Court in relation to provision of policy measures for reliefs to borrowers. This may provide a major relief to small businesses and individual borrowers. However, impact of the Scheme on the banking sector remains a question as Scheme does not provide for a time period within which the lending institutions would.
By Vineet Shrivastava and Sayli Petiwale. Views are personal. Vineet and Sayli can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org respectively.