be 0.5% to 1% of the outstanding loan amount. This is a good way of availing interest rates offered to new customers. However, this scheme is not actively pushed by banks, and not all lenders offer this too.
In such a situation, most existing borrowers resort to porting their home loans to banks which offer lower interest rates. This has been encouraged by RBI by removing the prepayment penalties on floating rate loans. However, it is important for customers to read the fine print before taking this step, as there may be many unanticipated costs to be borne. Processing fees, stamp duty, notarization charges, franking charges and insurance premium are some of the likely costs which a customer needs to bear. This can easily work out to be 0.5% to 0.75% of the loan amount. Add to this the requirement of submitting all documentation again to the new bank. It is therefore important to understand the merits of switching your home loan, and try to use the option of staying with your old bank using the switching fee option, wherever possible.
Another issue faced by fixed rate home loan borrowers in the applicability of the reset clause. Fixed rate loans are not fixed for the entire loan tenure. The reset clause is invoked as and when applicable according to the terms of the agreement. Thus, if there is a scenario of increasing interest rates in the economy, banks will reset the interest on the fixed rate home loan. Although there is no option to remove this clause, borrowers can search for banks that offer fixed rate loans with no reset clause.
Borrowers also sometimes face the issue of the inflexibility on the bank’s part to adjust the EMI amount or tenure in case of an interest rate revision. The hassle of reworking EMIs as well as changing ECS mandates may deter banks from changing the EMI amount. However, from the customer point of view, it must always be remembered that reducing the tenure is a better option compared to reducing the EMI amount in case of a downward interest revision, to save on interest costs.
It is hoped that RBI and the Government will continue to take proactive steps in addressing the concerns of home loan borrowers - both existing as well as new borrowers.