HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh on Thursday said the largest pure-play home financier may face a compression of its Net Interest Margin (NIM) in the short term as it is unable to immediately pass on the impact of RBI’s rate hike to borrowers.
Parekh, however, exuded confidence that the spreads and margins which the corporation makes on loans sold by it will stabilise over the medium to long term.
It can be noted that the RBI has hiked interest rates by a cumulative 0.90 per cent in two successive actions since May with an eye to tame the rising inflation, as it tries to rollback the accommodative measures taken during the pandemic.
Parekh said the impact on the NIM, which stood at 3.5 per cent for the March quarter and 3.7 per cent for June 2021 quarter, will be for a “quarter or so”.
See Zee Business Live TV Streaming Below:
“The manner in which interest rates have moved resulted in some transmission lag and this may have a short term impact on margins, largely in comparison with the corresponding quarter of the previous year,” Parekh said addressing HDFC’s shareholders at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) conducted virtually.
“When the RBI increases the interest rates, our cost of borrowing goes up immediately, but there is a few months’ lag before we can increase the interest rates,” he said.
Parekh said a slew of factors augur well for India’s growth at present, but the mood is “sombre” because of the volatility in the equity markets.
The risk-averse foreign portfolio investors are selling aggressively to cover for losses they are booking in other emerging markets, which has led to the difficulties, he said.
Fortunately for the country, the increased interest from domestic institutional investors and retail investors has helped support the equity markets, Parekh, a veteran of the financial services space, said.
The positives which augur well for the economy, which is projected to grow at over 7 per cent, are government’s commitment to higher capital expenditure, food security and capacity utilisation touching 75 per cent which portends the beginning of a new private capex cycle, he said.
Parekh said unusual measures were taken because of the unusual times that we passed through, and the same are currently being withdrawn in a calibrated manner, and seemed to welcome the RBI and government acting in tandem.
Indian inflation, which has been consistently breaching the RBI targets, is not because of excess demand but is attributable to the supply side issues emanating from surge in oil prices due to the geopolitical tensions, Parekh said, exuding confidence that price rise will trend downwards once the current problems ease.
In such a context, there is an immense demand for housing in the country which will also translate into demand for home loans, Parekh said, poining out that in March this year, HDFC witnessed the highest demand for a single month in its history.
Parekh said a separate meeting will be arranged for shareholders’ approval for merging the corporation with HDFC Bank, and requested shareholders to show patience at Thursday’s AGM, and address questions regarding the merger at the special meeting to be held subsequently.
The merger, which was announced in early April, requires a series of approvals from financial sector regulators including RBI and IRDAI before it goes to National Company Law Tribunal and shareholders, he said.