In the wake of the global pandemic and as the nation is in a lockdown, the onus falls on the various financial and lending institutions to come forward and help people tread these uncharted waters. Financial institutions should continue to play a larger role in creating a cohesive environment in this “New Normal” at a time when partnerships will be steered by new ethics, challenges and responses and in recognition of this responsibility and as a caring institution, Bank of Baroda, which is a very large and leading public sector lender, has made sure that the credit process keeps functioning.
Given the evolving situation and anticipating the customer’s requirement, the Bank has announced series of facilities and initiatives that addresses the needs of every section of society. The Bank’s branches, Business Correspondents and ATMs are working at any given point of time, with constant replenishment of cash to meet requirements for all.
The Bank’s Initiatives
While Bank of Baroda has more than 9,000 branches, it also has 18,000 plus Banking Correspondents (BC) who have extended constant support to customers across the country. The Bank has also announced an extension of financial support to the BCs towards the maintenance of hygiene and safety at BC touch points. A first-time initiative among public sector banks, the effort is meant to ensure protection by the Bank from COVID-19, towards its customers and members of the public and the business correspondents themselves. A financial support of INR 2000 has been given to each active and functional BC agent towards the maintenance of hygiene at their outlets for the purchase of sanitizers, disinfectants, masks, gloves etc. An additional INR 100 per working day is being given to every active BC agents towards transportation.
For the women beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) the Bank has arranged that all account holders receive an amount of INR 500 each for each of the next three months, as an ex gratia payment under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package announced by the government. The money is be credited to the individual bank account holders and an SMS is also sent to the account holders informing them on the date when they should withdraw from the nearby branch or the BC touch points.
The Bank’s Marginal Cost of Funds Based Lending Rate (MCLR) has been reduced by 15 basis points to 8.00% w.e.f. 12th April 2020. For its retail customers, the Bank has reduced its Baroda Repo Linked Lending Rate (BRLLR) by 75 basis points with effect from March 28, 2020. The BRLLR linked to RBI Repo Rate is revised downwards in line with the reduction on Reserve Bank of India Repo Rate from 5.15% to 4.40% after the central bank slashed it by 75 basis points. The move was aimed encouraging customers to avail the credit lines that have been opened and assure that the Bank is available at all times to meet all the credit requirements most conveniently. The BRLLR for all new floating rate loans for all personal loans and retail loans of all asset classes and floating rate loans to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, is now 7.25%. For existing loans, the interest rate under the external benchmark shall be reset at monthly intervals linked to BRLLR. However, there has been no change in the mark-up /base spread or strategic premium.
In pursuance to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) COVID 19 regulatory package announcement, the Bank has provided a moratorium of three months on payment of all instalments falling due between March 01, 2020 to May 31, 2020 for all term loans including corporate, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Agriculture, Retail such as Housing, Auto, Education and Personal. Interest shall continue to accrue on the outstanding portion of the term loans during the moratorium period. These measures are to help mitigate debt servicing on account of disruption brought about by COVID 19 and ensure continuity of business. For all the customers whose Standing Instructions for deduction of monthly instalments have been implemented, the Bank has texted the customers in case they want a refund of the instalments of March and April as well as deferment for the instalment till up to May.
Further, the Bank launched the “Baroda Personal Loan COVID 19” for its existing Retail Loan customers (Home Loan, Auto Loan & Loan against property). The objective was to tide over the liquidity mismatch to existing customers. The customer could approach their existing branches to avail this personal loan up to a maximum limit INR 5 lakhs in a hassle-free manner. This being a special personal loan, the Bank has kept a much lower interest rate linked to the Baroda Repo Linked Lending Rate (BRLLR) than its regular personal loan schemes and the customers may avail the benefits under the scheme till 30th September 2020.
Bank of Baroda announced zero charges on digital transactions for retail customers for three months to ensure the safety of its customers and to provide enhanced and uninterrupted banking experience. The ‘Stay Safe. Bank Safe’ along with the ‘Khushiyon Ka Remote Control’ initiative aimed at encouraging customers to bank digitally and equipping them to avail the Bank’s services from a remote location, without visiting the branch.
For MSME and corporate borrowers, the banking giant has rolled out the ‘Baroda COVID Emergency Credit Line (BCECL)’ to provide Emergency Credit Line like Short- Term Loan/Demand Loans. This means that the Bank has decided to make a maximum of 10% of the existing Fund Based Working Capital Limits (FBWC) subject to a maximum of INR 200 crore. This is in addition to existing Adhoc/excess/SLC/Gold Card Limit. The interest rate for corporate borrowers would be one-year MCLR of 8.00% without the standard premium and for MSMEs, the rate of interest would be at BRLLR of 7.25%.
For the agriculture segment, Bank of Baroda floated various schemes to ensure immediate financial assistance to Women Self Help Groups (SHG), to meet their domestic and agriculture needs and an Emergency Credit Line for Farmer Producer Organization (FPO/ FPC) to meet the temporary liquidity mismatch of FPO / FPCs arising out of COVID-19. Under the Additional Assurance to SHGs-COVID19 scheme, the Bank will provide support to existing SHG facilities in the form of Cash Credit/Overdraft/Term Loan/Demand Loan. The minimum loan amount is INR 30000 per SHG and maximum loan amount granted under the scheme is INR 1 lakh per SHG, repayable in 24 months. The repayment for this scheme would be on a monthly / quarterly basis and the moratorium will be for a period six months from the date of disbursement.
Bank of Baroda has also cut deposit interest rates, on Domestic Term Deposits including NRO, NRE & Non-Callable deposits of below INR 2.00 Crore w.e.f. 9" April 2020. A sum of INR 20 crore has been handed to the government on behalf of the Bank’s employees for the PM-CARES Fund for the fight against coronavirus.
Together, we shall overcome
As the world comes together in its battle against a situation unheard, unseen before, banks are required to take on the responsibility of easing the financial ecosystem and enabling credit assistance to those who need it. As the whole finance sector gears up for the ‘New Normal’, Bank of Baroda is committed to providing comprehensive financial aid through various efforts and initiatives to continue in contributing to the Indian economy.