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Retail loans take off again, home loans stay sluggish

Nov 13, 2007 08:48 PM IST Business Business

Mumbai: The festive cheer could be a turning point for the retail loan segment. Retail or consumer credit which has been slowing since January this year following the spate of rate hikes, appears to be taking off yet again. Sources in ICICI Bank and several big PSU banks say that since the interest rates were cut on retail loans in mid-October, loan growth has picked up. Bankers say they have seen a pick up of between 10 –15 per cent in the auto, two-wheeler loans, consumer durables, and personal loan categories. However, the demand for home loans still remains low though rates on home loans were also dropped by half a percent in October. Bankers say this is because of high property prices. According to RBI figures, bank loan growth which slipped to 21.9 per cent in September from 30 per cent a year ago, has risen modestly to 22.5 per cent in the fortnight ended October 26. Bankers say this spurt in loan demand was expected but it is not enough to deploy all the high cost deposits raised this year. This means banks may have to lower rates further before end of 2007 if loan demand doesn't grow faster.