Money & Banking

Covid relief: No interest on interest for any loan up to Rs 2 crore

K.R. Srivats | Updated on October 24, 2020

The Finance Ministry said that out of the 16 States, five did not have any shortfall on account of GST compensation

No moratorium condition; Govt to pick the tab

Bringing financial relief to millions of borrowers from financial system, the Department of Financial Services in the Finance Ministry has finally rolled out a much anticipated scheme that will provide interest compounding relief for the six month moratorium extended to mitigate COVID19 effect.

The relief will come to borrowers in the form of grant of ex-gratia payment of difference between compound interest and simple interest for six months (from March 1 to August 30).

This scheme has been rolled out after the Supreme Court directed the Centre to implement the relief as soon as possible and ahead of upcoming Diwali.

Put simply, borrowers will need to pay interest only on simple basis for their outstanding borrowing (only those with aggregate borrowing upto ₹ 2 crore) during the six months COVID-19 induced lockdown period. The compounding effect will be made good by the government reimbursing the lending institutions.

The Finance Ministry has now directed that the exercise of crediting the benefit under the scheme— which will be available irrespective of whether the borrower had fully availed or partially availed or not availed of moratorium announced by RBI — be completed on or before November 5.

Lending institutions

The benefit under the scheme would be routed through lending institutions (all banks, urban cooperative banks,  NBFCs, NBFC-MFIs, State Cooperative banks, District Central Cooperative Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Housing Finance Companies). Borrowers in as many as eight segments —MSME loans, education loans, housing loans, consumer durable loans, credit card dues, automobile loans, personal loans to professionals, consumption loans — having sanctioned limits and outstanding amount not exceeding ₹ 2 crore (aggregate of all facilities with lending institutions) as on February 29 this year will be eligible for the scheme, the Finance Ministry has said.

The latest Finance Ministry move is in keeping with the affidavit filed by the Centre before the Supreme Court in the interest waiver case, sources said. The apex court has posted the matter for hearing on November 2.

While lending institutions can claim reimbursement from the Centre for the ex-gratia amounts credited to eligible borrowers, the government has stipulated that for the reimbursement the compounding of interest should be reckoned on monthly basis, except where contrary is specified. For different segments of loans, the Finance Ministry has specified the interest rate that would be applied for calculation of relief.

For instance in the case of credit card dues, the rate of interest will be Weighted Average Lending Rate (WALR). For education loans, housing loans, automobile loans, personal loans to professional loans and consumption loans, the rate of interest to be applied for calculating the difference between simple and compound interest would be the contracted rate as specified in loan agreement/ documentation, the Finance Ministry has said.

Claim processing

Lending institutions can lodge their claim for reimbursement latest by December 15 only after crediting the ex-gratia amount. Claims will have to be pre-audited by the statutory auditor of the lending institution and a certificate has to be attached with the claim. State Bank of India will be the nodal agency for the scheme and will receive funds from the central government for settlement of claims of lending institutions.

There is however no clarity or commitment on how soon the reimbursements will happen, banking industry observers pointed out.

Grievance redressal

Each of the lending institution have been asked to put in place a grievance redressal mechanism for eligible borrowers within one week. Grievances, if any, of the lending institutions would be resolved through the designated cell at SBI in consultation with Finance Ministry.


Published on October 24, 2020

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