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Why gold loan business will be hit

Last updated on: April 20, 2012 12:44 IST

Why gold loan business will be hit

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Gold is one of the most influential financial instruments in the India. Banks, NBFCs and unorganised lenders are actively engaged in providing loans against gold value.

The loan against value of gold has played a great role by providing liquidity for an idle asset kept in the lockers.

However, in its latest move, RBI has come up with a norm for NBFCs that does not allow them to offer a loan above 60 per cent of the value of gold.

RBI grew uncomfortable with the high growth rate of gold loans for NBFCs.

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Image: Gold earrings are seen on display at a store in New York.
Photographs: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters.
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Why gold loan business will be hit

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It has increased its inquiry of the gold loan portfolios, even for the banks.

RBI wants interest rates and growth rates on gold loans to come down, especially for NBFCs considering concentration risk and the risk of a fall in gold prices.

Furthermore, RBI's directive that a bank credit to NBFCs for giving loans against gold jewellery will not be treated as exposure to the agricultural sector would hinder companies to raise easy funds for gold financing.

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Image: Gold necklaces are pictured in a window at the Vicenza Oro Choice exposition in Vicenza.
Photographs: Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters.
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Why gold loan business will be hit

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Some of the key points from the RBI's latest guidelines for NBFCs include transparency in interest rates, due diligence in understanding the repayment capacity of the borrower, awareness of his existing debts, explicit loan agreement etc.

Also, NBFCs that have gold loans of more than 50 per cent of total financial assets have to maintain Tier -1 capital ratio of 12 per cent from April 2014.

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Image: A man looks at jewels displayed for auction after being pawned by their owners at the Credit Municipal public pawnbroker in Nice.
Photographs: Eric Gaillard/Reuters.
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Why gold loan business will be hit

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Why it is a setback for NBFCs?

RBI's guideline is a setback for NBFCs because the new rules require greater capital adequacy for the financing companies and the thresh hold for the value of loan against gold is proposed to be at a lower value.

This would mean that ornaments of the same value are expected to result in a lesser loan amount and that too at a slightly higher cost.

Let's check out other aspects where NBFCs could be adversely affected.

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Image: A sales representative poses behind a nine-tael 24K gold in the shape of a dragon forming the numerals 2012.
Photographs: Bobby Yip/Reuters.
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Why gold loan business will be hit

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Earlier, NBFCs used to provide up to 80 per cent loan against the gold now it would be reduced to a mere 60 per cent of the gold value.

Gold loans from banks would now become more attractive than NBFCs until they are allowed to lend more on the value of pledged gold.

The cost of funding for NBFCs would go up due to the RBI's restriction to allow the NBFCs to finance its gold loan from the banks as an exposure to agricultural loan.

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Image: UAZ automobile exhibit, made amber and which costs about $650,000, is displayed during the Junwex Petersburg jewelry exhibition in St. Petersburg.
Photographs: Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters.
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Why gold loan business will be hit

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NBFCs might have to reduce the interest rate to sustain hold in the gold loan market. Hence the current profit margin would come down significantly.

What's in favour of NBFCs?

Though this regulation would hit hard on the revenue as well as bottom-line of the NBFCs there still some positive aspects to this move:

NBFCs would continue to enjoy the niche segment advantage due to its deep presence in the gold loan market. At present, NBFCs have a 32% share of the total gold loan market.

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Image: Second hand gold jewellery items are displayed at Ginza Tanaka store in Tokyo.
Photographs: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters.
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Why gold loan business will be hit

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The gold loan would still be cheaper than the personal loan, so the size of market is set to grow bigger in coming days.

There are many untapped areas where NBFCs could have a better reach than the banks.

The advantage of trouble free and quick loan processing by NBFCs would give them the edge over the banks. NBFCs can raise funds through market borrowings, i.e. commercial papers to lower the cost of the fund.

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Image: Figurines in 24K gold.
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Why gold loan business will be hit

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On gold loans

The RBI move would create a gap between bank and NBFC gold loan operations. 

The banks are expected to make an aggressive take over on the gold loan segment in the absence of a strong NBFC presence.

In the current scenario, RBI's recent regulations have hit the top as well as bottom-line of the NBFCs.

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Image: A shopkeeper poses with gold rings inside a jewellery shop in Taipei.
Photographs: Nicky Loh/Reuters.
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Why gold loan business will be hit

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In India, gold buying is a regular process, and people are expected to continue its inclination towards gold in the future.

The regulations may negatively affect the gold loan business in the short term for NBFCs but in the long term, the overall gold loan market is set to grow as long as the demand for gold is growing in the country, and NBFCs just need lay the foundation to pick up the pace again and devise ways to cater to their customer base in an innovative manner.



Image: A general view shows jewellery and watches displayed in glass cabinets at a newly opened shop of Swiss luxury brand Piaget at the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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