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Friday, April 29, 2016

Special Interest Rates for Women

 

If you are looking for a loan, it pays to be a woman. Public and private sector banks as well as NBFCs are vying with one another to attract women customers by offering special schemes and attractive loan terms.

These cover a wide range of secured loan products, such as home or vehicle loans and unsecured loans for education, business and personal spending. Many of these benefits are extended to cases where the woman is a co-borrower.

Home loans

When purchasing a home by taking a loan, if the borrower is a woman, the interest rate is lower. SBI's Her Ghar home loan scheme offers a 5 basis points (bps) lower rate for women borrowers. The current rate of interest for women borrowers is 20 bps above the base rate of 9.3 per cent. Now, 5 bps saving may not seem much, but given that the loan amount is typically high, it can add up over the long tenure of the loan.

For example, you can save ₹40,000 on a loan of ₹50 lakh, over 20 years. Likewise, ICICI Bank also offers women borrowers a 5 bps lower rate.

Motilal Oswal Financial Services has launched a home loan division, called MALA, for women. Salaried and self-employed women can get home loans of ₹2-12 lakh to purchase affordable housing units. Interest rates are in the 10-13 per cent range.

Vehicle loans

If you are thinking of buying a two-wheeler, Andhra Bank may be an option. Interest rates for women are 1 per cent above the base rate for all loan tenures, compared with 1.75-2 per cent above the base rate for other borrowers (based on loan period). Mahindra Finance offers a 0.5 per cent rebate on two-wheeler loans to women customers.

For women buying a car, Bharatiya Mahila Bank's Dream Car Loan may be a good choice.

The loan is offered at the base rate, currently at 9.7 per cent.

SBI offers 25 bps discount on car loans for women borrowers under its 'Her Ghar Her Car' loyalty scheme.

Business and other loans

There are many special loan schemes that cover a broad spectrum of businesses ranging from crèche to setting up industries.

Many of them require that the majority shareholding in the company (over 50 per cent) be held by women. For instance, Bank of India's Star Doctors Plus programme offers a 0.5 per cent lower interest rate for setting up medical pathological/diagnostic services by doctors, if 51 per cent stake in the entity is held by women. Tamilnad Mercantile Bank's Mahalir loan offers working capital and asset purchase funding to women-owned businesses. The interest rate is not lower than general business loans, but the loan tenure is longer, at seven years (compared with five years for most other business loans).

SBI offers many different schemes for women entrepreneurs. For instance, Stree Shakti Package is available for enterprises that are majority women-owned.

These loans offer advantages, such as 5 per cent lower margin requirement, interest rate reduction of 0.5 per cent for loans of over ₹2 lakh and waiver of security for loans up to ₹5 lakh in case of tiny sector units.

The Cent Kalyani scheme from Central Bank of India offers loans of up to ₹1 crore at an interest rate of 0.25 per cent over the base rate to new as well as experienced female business owners, professionals and self-employed. Education loans to girl students are also available at lower interest rates. Bharatiya Mahila Bank's Saraswati education loan offers a 1 per cent interest rate concession to girl students. SBI, Axis Bank and Central Bank of India offer 0.5 per cent interest rate reduction on their education loans to female students.

Women can also get better rates on many personal loan schemes. Syndicate Bank's SyndSaral scheme for women provides personal loan with a 0.25 per cent discount in interest rate. Likewise, Bank of India's Star personal loan offers 0.5 per cent concession on rates, if all the borrowers are women.

Bharatiya Mahila Bank offers a special loan for kitchen renovation and purchase of electronic items, furniture and utensils.

The loan term is seven years and the maximum loan amount is ₹5 lakh. The interest rate is 11.7 per cent based on the current base rate.

Many banks also offer personal loan schemes for women to buy gold and silver. Karur Vysya Bank's Mahila Swarna Loan, for instance, is offered to women employees of the Central or State Governments to purchase jewellery and silverware. Bank of India's Mahila Gold Loan Scheme is offered to women for buying gold ornaments.

The interest rate is 3 per cent over the base rate, compared to other personal loans where the spread is 4-5 per cent.

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