The country's largest lender, State Bank of India, today said it increased its base rate, or the minimum rate of lending, to 9.80 per cent, a day ahead of the RBI's policy review.
"State Bank of India has revised the base rate by 0.10 per cent from 9.70 per cent per annum to 9.80 per cent," it said in a statement. Retail term deposit rates have been revised upward, it said.
SBI is the first major state-run bank to hike lending rates after short-term rates rose as a result of the Reserve Bank of India's liquidity tightening moves announced in July. The decision comes on the eve of the mid-quarter review of the monetary policy.
According to watchers, new RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has been given some room to take an accommodative stance after the US Federal Reserve surprisingly delayed the tapering of liquidity infusion.
SBI also increased the spreads on auto and home loans by as much as 0.20 per cent, which will affect new borrowers.
Home and auto loan borrowers typically pay a margin, or a spread, above the base rate, which is arrived at as per the risk and quantum of borrowing.
The bank has hiked rates for loans under the benchmark prime lending rate, an older system of computing interest rates, to 14.55 per cent from 14.45 per cent. The lending rate hikes are effective from today, it added.
A senior bank official said the decision to increase rates was taken by the asset liability committee, which met late last evening.
"There has been an increase in our cost of funds and the pressure will only increase further as we enter the festive season, which increases the requirement for liquidity," the official told PTI.
New housing loans under Rs 30 lakh will come at 10.10 per cent as against 9.95 per cent earlier, while interest rates on auto loans will go up to 10.75 per cent, the official said.
The SBI official was non-committal when asked if a dovish stance from the RBI would lead to a revision of the moves announced today.
SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri had repeatedly maintained that a bank like his, which has a good retail deposit base and does not depend on wholesale funding, does not feel the need to hike interest rates.