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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) lifted the policy repo rate by 35 basis points in the December policy, which was in line with forecasts. As a result, the policy repo rate has now climbed to 6.25%, which is the highest level since August 2018. As a result, the repo rate has raised by 225 basis points so far in FY23. After that, banks will probably raise interest rates on a variety of loans and deposit products. After reaching a five-month high of 7.41 per cent in September, India's retail price inflation dropped to 6.77 per cent in October 2022, prompting the RBI to raise the repo rate in September policy to 5.90% since the inflation rate was over the upper limit set by the central bank. The RBI kept its FY23 inflation projection at 6.7% in its December policy while stating that countering inflation is still in place.

Here are two small finance banks that are DICGC insured and are promising elderly people over 9% returns on fixed deposits in an inflationary economy.

Suryoday Small Finance Bank

The interest rate on fixed deposits at Suryoday Small Finance Bank has increased by 50 basis points to a remarkable 226 basis points. As of December 6, the new interest rates are in effect. Senior citizens receive a far better rate of return on their FDs than the general public, up to 9.26%, whereas the general public can only earn a maximum of 9.01% on FDs under 2 crore. Additionally, the bank has introduced a limited deal for a 5-year deposit with a 15-day term. Under this limited-time fixed deposit programme, the bank is providing non-senior residents with a rate of 9.01% and senior citizens with a rate of 9.26%.

Suryoday Small Finance Bank FD
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Suryoday Small Finance Bank FD (suryodaybank.com)

Unity Small Finance Bank

The deposit interest rate of Unity Small Finance Bank stands revised from 21st November, 2022. The bank is giving a maximum interest rate of 8.50% for non-senior citizens and 9.00% for elderly individuals on two specific tenors of 181 days and 501 days.

Unity Small Finance Bank FD
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Unity Small Finance Bank FD (theunitybank.com)

Mr. Samir Jasuja, Founder and Managing Director- PropEquity said “The RBI increased interest rates by 35 basis points for the fifth consecutive time will surely affect homebuyers in India. Currently, the rate is at its highest level since August 2018. As the repo rates are now at 6.25%, there may be some repercussions on housing demand. Following four consecutive rate hikes this year, the repo rate hike will undoubtedly raise home loan interest rates. The impact on housing will be moderate as long as interest rates remain in the single digits (mainly within 8.5%). Residential sales volumes will be impacted in the months to come if they breach this point - especially in the affordable and lower midrange housing segments."

Mr. Mitul Shah - Head of Research at Reliance Securities said “The RBI MPC raised the repo rate by 35 basis points to 6.25% with 5-1 vote. It continued its stance of withdrawing accommodation. This is in line with the street estimates. The RBI has raised rates by a cumulative 225 bps since the start of the tightening cycle in Apr’22, way below the US Federal Reserve’s 350 bps increases over the same period. The RBI has already intervened to support the rupee and further rate rises are likely to support the currency and to curtail underlying inflationary pressure. The RBI maintained inflation forecast at 6.7% for FY23 and said the battle against inflation is not over yet. The central bank lowered the growth expectation to 6.8% from 7% seen previously. Though growth rate downward revision and rate hike would be seen as negative for markets, while governor’s positive view on improvement ahead and peak out of inflation now onwards provide some relief to investors. On the other hand, a few banking reforms and launch of digital currency would be key positive for the sector."

Tejas Khoday, Co-Founder and CEO of FYERS said "The Reserve Bank of India’s fifth consecutive rate hike increased the Repo rate by 35 basis points to 6.25 per cent. This announcement is on expected lines and in tandem with the actions undertaken by other central banks in a bid to tame persistent inflation. India’s Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) for October was higher than the MPC tolerance limit of 6 per cent. The withdrawal of the accommodative stance from RBI continues from the previous announcements. Economic growth projections are lower across most developed nations. The inflation versus growth debate continues in India, with RBI keen on bringing down inflation while economic indicators point towards a slowdown in rural consumption. Indian GDP growth is projected at 6.8 percent for FY23, with Q3 GDP growth expected to be around 4.4 per cent. The inflation projection stands at 6.7 per cent. Leading economic indicators show positivity with rising credit growth and utilization factors in the construction and manufacturing sectors, boosted by improving passenger vehicle sales, air traffic growth, and higher private consumption during the current festive season. But merchandise exports witnessed a continuous fall over the last 4-5 months, with imports rising steadily during the same period. With RBI and MPC firmly focused on inflation, the quantum of impact on economic activity needs close monitoring in the quarters ahead."

Mr. K V Srinivasan, Executive Director & CEO, Profectus Capital said “The RBI’s action in raising the repo rate by 35 bps is in line with market expectations and their consistent objective to rein in inflation. With the PMI (which reflects business confidence) and other indicators being positive, I expect capex to continue in spite of higher interest cost and do not see economic growth being impacted in any significant way. Repo rate has in reality only gone back to pre-Covid days as emergency measures taken due to Covid are being unwound – this cannot be seen in any negative light."

Ajit Banerjee, Chief Investment Officer, Shriram Life Insurance said “The Reserve Bank of India has hiked the repo rate by 35 basis points to 6.25% which was on expected lines. However, markets were expecting a slight moderation in the stance but it continues to be the withdrawal of accommodative stance while supporting growth. This may be interpreted that further action on the rate front can still happen before arriving at the terminal rate. RBI also lowered its GDP growth forecast for FY23 to 6.8 percent from 7 per cent earlier. This is predominantly factoring in the global headwinds which prevail and would likely to impact India’s GDP growth. The inflation forecasts for the residual period of FY23 have been marginally increased from the previous forecast in view of the higher inflation level still prevailing. Dispensation of the enhanced HTM limit at 23% for banks extended up to March 2024 will be a welcome step for the banking sector. The RBI Governor also gave caution to the market participants that this surplus liquidity should not be taken for granted hence the liquidity withdrawal will continue. Overall the tonality of the statement can be considered slightly hawkish in nature."

Krishnan Vishwanathan, Founder and Executive Director, RING said “The RBI has made a mammoth effort in making UPI the predominant payment option for any and every transaction in India. QR code transaction, peer to peer payment through bank or phone numbers, online payment to a smallest tea stall to a fine dining restaurant - almost anything is possible using UPI. Having said that, there were a few used cases where traditional payment instruments like credit cards had an advantage. This new announcement completely democratizes UPI for credit and debit payments, removing any gaps in making it the preferred choice of payment for every purchase. Perhaps the most pivotal aspect of today’s announcement is the integration of Single-Block-and-Multiple-Debits (SBMD) within the UPI framework. Essentially, SBMD allows users and merchants to decide on a certain limit to which a credit card may be authorized, making it convenient for customers and giving confidence to merchants. Now that UPI is capable of similar services, it is poised to increase its reach considerably making it the most popular mode of payment in the near future, in line with RBI’s vision. This almost puts UPI at par with a traditional credit card . So we are very positive about the development as it gives digital platforms like ours an opportunity to offer additional benefits to customer though UPI integration."

Atul Monga, Chief Executive and Founder of Basic Home Loan said “As interest rates rise, the impact of monthly instalments for both new and existing customers will be felt. For instance, if the rate of interest is hiked by 0.35, then the EMI of a loan of 10 lakh taken at 8.5% for ten years will increase by around 300. To deal with the impact of a higher interest rate, it is important to maintain good credit, research the best rate offers, and consider refinancing existing loans to lower the monthly payments customers can also opt for long tenures or switch to a floating rate of interest."

Mr. Umesh Kumar Mehta CIO, Samco Mutual Fund said “RBI has proved that it has indeed managed the global turbulences very astutely, by proactively first, increasing the policy rates aggressively to control inflation and manage currency outflows and then now quickly turning to neutral stance ahead of developed world, by rightly foreseeing the turn of inflation cycle and loosening of monetary strings about to come from the world’s biggest monetary powerhouse, the US. Indian coffers have turned the tide quickly, in a matter of weeks the currency reserves have increased by around 8 to 9% and it seems the current hike in REPO rate by 35 BPS to 6.25% seems to be nearing an end which was subtly indicated and rightly so as India firmly stands out as one of the most resilient economies of the world. RBI has steered the Indian monetary ecosystem exceedingly well compared to any other monetary authorities in the world."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vipul Das

Vipul Das is a Digital Business Content Producer at Livemint. He previously worked for Goodreturns.in (OneIndia News) and has over 5 years of expertise in the finance and business sector. Stocks, mutual funds, personal finance, tax, and banking are among his specialties, and he is a professional in industry research and business reporting. He received his bachelor's degree from Dr. CV Raman University and also have completed Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication (DJMC).
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