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KYC means “Know Your Customer”. It is a process by which banks or NBFCs obtain information about the identity and address of the customers. Know your customer (KYC) policy is a mandatory, regulatory and legal requirement for the identification and verification of the customer’s details, by using independent and reliable information or documents.

This process helps to ensure that banks’ services are not misused. The elements include customer identification procedures, customer acceptance policy, monitoring of transactions and risk management. The KYC procedure is to be completed by the banks while offering loans or opening accounts and also periodically update the same. KYC has also been extended to investment in Insurance, Mutual fund and the capital market too. KYC is a process where the Financial Institution identifies its clients in a manner prescribed under the PMLA act.

The objective of the KYC is to prevent identity theft, terrorist financing, money laundering and financial fraud. KYC allows Financial Institutions to understand the customer better and manage risks prudently.

KYC collects and verifies the basic details of the customers like:

  • The legal status of the entity or a person
  • Name and authorized signatures
  • Identity of the beneficial controllers and owners of the entity

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued guidelines on 29th November 2004 on Know Your Customer [KYC] Standards, Anti Money Laundering [AML] Measures and all banks are required to put in place a comprehensive policy framework covering KYC Standards and AML Measures.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) which came into force from 1st July 2005 also requires Banks, Financial Institutions and Intermediaries to ensure that they follow certain minimum standards of KYC and AML as laid down in the Act and the “rules” framed thereunder.

Under the legal framework in India, it has been recognized 6 types Non-individual or Non-person entities as a legal person:

  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Private & Public Limited Company
  • Trust & Society
  • Association of Person & Body of Individuals
  • Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)

The KYC of an entity is dependent on the constitution of the entity. PAN copy is a common document for all the legal entities. Other than PAN other documents dependent on the constitution of the entity.

For a partnership firm the KYC documents required are:

  • Partnership Deed along with old deeds
  • PAN of the firm
  • GST Registration Certificate
  • Address Proof in the name of the firm (Telephone Bill)
  • What are the KYC documents for a Private Limited Company?
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Memorandum of Association
  • Memorandum of Article
  • Latest list of Shareholders and Directors along with DIN
  • PAN of the company
  • GST Registration Certificate
  • Address Proof in the name of the company (Telephone Bill)

The KYC documents needed for a Public Limited Company are:

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Certificate of Commencement of Business (in case of a limited company)
  • Memorandum of Association
  • Memorandum of Article
  • Latest list of Shareholders and Directors along with DIN
  • PAN of the company
  • GST Registration Certificate
  • Address Proof in the name of the company (Telephone Bill)
  • What are the KYC documents for LLP?
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Deed of Partnership
  • Latest list of designated partners along with DPIN
  • PAN of the LLP
  • GST Registration Certificate
  • Address Proof in the name of the LLP (Telephone Bill)

The KYC documents needed for a Trust or a Society are:

  • Registration Certificate with any state regulatory authority or Charity Commissioner (for charitable trusts)
  • Trust Deed or By-Laws
  • Income Tax registration under section 12A
  • Latest list of Trustees / Governing Body Members / Committee Members
  • Address Proof in the name of the Trust / Society (Telephone Bill)

The KYC documents for an AOP / BOL are:

  • Latest AoP/ BoI agreement
  • Entity Proof in the name of AoP/ BoI
  • PAN of the AoP / BoI
  • Address Proof in the name of AoP/ BoI (Telephone Bill)
  • What are the KYC documents for a HUF?
  • PAN card in the name of HUF and Karta
  • HUF declaration signed by the Karta and all coparceners
  • Address proof in the name of HUF / Karta

KYC documents are divided into 2 parts:

  • Proof of Identity
  • Proof of Address

Proof of Identity documents are:

  • PAN Card
  • Valid Passport / Valid Driving License / E-Aadhaar letter downloaded from UIDAI site / Aadhaar card issued by the government of India / Election Card /Voter’s ID card
  • Identity card with photo, issued by Central / State Government and its Departments or Statutory / Regulatory Authorities
  • Identity cards issued by Public Sector Undertakings, Scheduled Commercial Banks, Public Financial Institutions
  • Identity cards issued Professional Bodies such as ICAI, ICWAI, ICSI, Bar Council etc. to their Members


Proof of Address:

  • Valid Passport / Valid Driving License / E-Aadhaar letter downloaded from UIDAI site / Aadhaar card issued by the government of India / Election Card /Voter’s ID card
  • Utility bills like Telephone Bill or postpaid mobile Bill, Electricity bill or Gas bill – Not more than 3 months old
  • Bank Account Statement/Passbook — Not more than 3 months old
  • Proof of address issued by Scheduled Commercial Banks / Scheduled Co-Operative Bank / Multinational Foreign Banks
  • The proof of address in the name of the spouse or parent may be accepted

KYC can be complied with in two different ways:

– Online

– Offline

There are two methods to do KYC online – Aadhaar OTP and Aadhaar-based Biometric KYC. Aadhaar OTP allows one to get the KYC done easily in minutes whereas, in Aadhaar-based Biometric KYC, one has to be assisted by an executive or by visiting the KYC asking office for biometric verification. This method of KYC compliance is mostly adopted while opening a bank account, investment in a mutual fund or insurance, or getting a mobile telephone connection.

Where online KYC compliance is not in place, KYC is collected offline. Most of the loan is processed with offline KYC. A general rule is followed while submitting offline KYC documents that, each document is photocopied on A4 size paper and self-attested. It is advisable to write the purpose for which the KYC document is submitted with a date of submission.

Goods and Service Tax is a comprehensive, multi-stage, destination-based tax that is levied on every value addition.

In simple words, GST is an indirect tax levied on the supply of goods and services. This law has replaced many indirect tax laws that previously existed in India, e.g., VAT, Sales Tax, Excise, Service Tax, Octroi, etc. GST is one indirect tax for an entire country.

Under the GST regime, tax is levied at every point of sale. In the case of intra-state sales, Central GST and State GST are charged. Inter-state sales are chargeable to Integrated GST.

The benefits of GST are as below:

  • Removing the cascading tax effect
  • Higher threshold for registration
  • Composition scheme for small businesses
  • Lesser & streamlined and online compliances
  • Increased efficiency in logistic
  • Regularizing unorganized sector
  • Lower tax evasion

Goods and Service Tax is a comprehensive, multi-stage, destination-based tax that is levied on every value addition.

In simple words, GST is an indirect tax levied on the supply of goods and services. This law has replaced many indirect tax laws that previously existed in India, e.g., VAT, Sales Tax, Excise, Service Tax, Octroi, etc. GST is one indirect tax for an entire country.

Under the GST regime, tax is levied at every point of sale. In the case of intra-state sales, Central GST and State GST are charged. Inter-state sales are chargeable to Integrated GST.

GST has removed the cascading effect on the sale of goods and services. Removal of the cascading effect has impacted the cost of goods since GST eliminates the tax on tax; the cost of goods decreases.

In GST, there is a way to claim credit for tax paid in acquiring input. This is called Input Tax Credit. The manufacturer or trader or service provider, who has paid a tax already can claim credit for this tax when they submit their tax returns. In the end, every time a value adder is able to claim the input tax credit, the sale price is reduced, and the cost price for the buyer is reduced. All this, because of lower tax liability.

GST is also mostly technology-based. All activities like registration, return filing, applying for refund and response to notice- needs to be done online on the GST Portal; this accelerates the process.

There are 3 taxes applicable under this system: CGST, SGST & IGST.

  • CGST: Collected by the Central Government on an intra-state sale
  • SGST: Collected by the State Government on an intra-state sale
  • IGST: Collected by the Central Government for inter-state sale

In the GST regime, any regular business has to file two monthly returns and one annual return. A registered dealer has to file GST returns that include:

  • Purchases
  • Sales
  • Output GST (On sales)
  • Input tax credit (GST paid on purchases)

The list of all the returns to be filed as prescribed under the GST Law along with the due dates are as below:

Normal Taxpayer

Return Form Particulars Frequency Due Date
GSTR – 1 Details of outward supplies of taxable goods and/or services in a calendar month, that’s Sales Monthly 11th of succeeding month
GSTR – 3B Summary of outward supplies of taxable goods and/or services in a calendar month along with Input Tax Credit is declared  and payment of tax by taxpayer Monthly 20th of succeeding month
GSTR – 9 Annual Return Annually 31st December of succeeding financial year
GSTR – 9C Reconciliation statement between the annual GST return in Form GSTR-9 and the audited financial statements of a taxpayer Annually 31st December of succeeding financial year

Composite Taxpayer

Return Form Particulars Frequency Due Date
GSTR – 4 Summary of outward supplies of taxable goods and/or services in a calendar month along with Input Tax Credit is declared  and payment of tax by taxpayer Quarterly 18th of the month succeeding quarter
GSTR – 9A Annual Return Annually 31st December of succeeding financial year

If GST Returns are not filed within time, you will be liable to pay interest and a late fee.

Interest is 18% per annum. It has to be calculated by the taxpayer on the amount of outstanding tax to be paid. The time period will be from the next day of filing to the date of payment. Late fees is Rs. 100 per day per Act. It is Rs. 100 under CGST & Rs. 100 under SGST. Total will be Rs. 200 per day. Maximum is Rs. 5,000. There is no late fee on IGST.

Bank Loan Rating is used by banks to determine risk weights concerning loan exposures, in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) Guidelines for Implementation of the New Capital Adequacy Framework under Basel II framework. RBI and SEBI have listed out authorized external independent agencies to carry out Bank Loan Rating for this purpose.

The rating agency opinions on the likelihood of the financial obligations being serviced on time and in full, as specified in the terms and conditions of the facility. The rating takes into account the long-term and short-term risk associated with the facility depending on the original maturity of the facility. Credit ratings may also indicate that the credit risk associated with a specific credit facility or specific security.

Rating of the facility can be external and internal. While credit rating generally denotes a rating assigned by a credit rating agency, there is also a mechanism of internal ratings by banks. A mechanism of the internal credit rating of borrowers was in existence in banks much before external credit rating of bank loans were introduced under Basel II regulations. RBI’s guidelines on ‘Risk Management Systems in Banks’ issued in October 1999, indicated that measurement of credit risk through credit rating/scoring depends on the Bank’s management decision.

Indian banks have been extensively using the opinion of external rating agencies. Even though banks do not require credit rating by external rating agencies for all loans, some are seemed to be asking borrowers to get an external rating. This is being done to enhance its credit assessments.

Both credit rating and credit scores are a measure of credit risk and reflect the varying level of probability of default of a given borrower. The difference is in the methodology used by them to assess the credit risk. While credit ratings are forward-looking opinion about credit risk, credit scores assigned by credit bureaus are based on the credit history of a borrower. Credit ratings take into account the risk that a borrower may face during a given time horizon in the future. In contrast, credit scores are based on the past performance of a borrower concerning servicing of debt. The second difference is that credit scores are assigned to a particular borrower, while credit ratings can be assigned to a specific facility.

Fund based as well as non-fund-based facilities sanctioned by Banks, which includes Cash Credit, Working Capital Demand Loans, Packing Credit, FCNR Loans, ECBs, Letter of Credit, Bank Guarantees, Bill Discounting, Project Loan, Forward Contract, etc. beyond a threshold limit are subjected to Bank Loan Rating.

It is recommended by RBI to rate facilities above Rs 10crs for calculating capital requirement, and as clarified by RBI, Credit rating is not mandatory for MSE borrowers. Banks insist on credit rating to meet the Capital Adequacy guidelines issued by RBI by assigning risk weightage to various loans. Higher Risk weightage is assigned to the facilities where the rating is on the lower side than speculative.

Various banks insist on external rating for loan exposure more than Rs 10 Crs to enhance their credit assessments. It is in the interest of the borrowers to get their credit rating done as it would help in credit pricing of the loans taken by them from banks.

In India, RBI and SEBI have allowed below external rating agencies to rate Bank Loan:

  • CRISIL Ltd.
  • CARE (Credit Analysis & Research Ltd.)
  • ICRA Ltd.
  • Brickworks (Brickwork Ratings India Pvt Ltd.)
  • India Rating (FITCH Ratings India Pvt Ltd.)
  • Acute Ratings & Research Ltd. (Erstwhile SMERA Ratings Ltd.)
  • What is the Benefit of Bank Loan Rating?
  • Better Credit Rating has benefits to Lenders as well as Borrowers. Few of them are
  • Credit selection – to decide whether to lend or not to a particular borrower
  • Pricing – Bank decide to price based on the rating to the loan
  • Favourable Terms – Better rating opens a window for better terms offered by the lender, e.g., waiver of third-party guarantee or additional collateral cover, longer tenure for term loans
  • Portfolio Analysis – Banks segregate the borrowers based on the rating.
  • Customer Service – Banks like to retain the high rated borrowers by offering favourable offering.

While making a credit assessment, the credit rating agencies will look at several factors, divided into qualitative & quantitative which includes the borrower’s level of debt, its willingness and financial ability to repay the debt, its growth prospect, management ability, industry outlook, dependency on customers or suppliers, geographical distribution and presence.

An investment-grade rating signifies the rating agency’s belief that the rated instrument is likely to meet its payment obligations. In the Indian context, Bank loan and debt instruments rated ‘BBB-‘ and above are classified as investment-grade rated. Lenders prefer facilities with Investment Grade rating.

Facilities and Debt Instruments that are rated ‘BB+ ‘and below are classified as speculative-grade category ratings, that means the ability to meet the payment obligations is considered to be “speculative”. These are considered to carry materially higher risk and a higher probability of default compared to facilities and debt instruments rated in the investment grade.

No. To protect the interest of lender and investors, SEBI has mandated that every credit rating agency shall, during the lifetime of the securities rated by it, continuously monitor the rating of such securities and carry out periodic reviews of all published ratings.

A rating is expected to remain valid until the rated debt obligation is fully paid or the rating is withdrawn and is subjected to a periodic review to ascertain the validity of the same.

Rating is an opinion based on information available at a point in time with the rating agency and expectations made based on such information by the agency. However, information and expectations can change significantly over time, thereby affecting the future repayment abilities and thus, requiring the rating to be altered.

A downgrade in the rating indicates that the risk of default of the instrument is higher than what was earlier predicted and an upgrade in the rating indicates the risk weightage assigned has improved over the period due to external and internal factors.

The Issuer who wants to get rated pays towards the fees for credit rating. The fee is a percentage of the facility amount,

  • Ranging between 0.04% to 0.10% of the rated bank facility, subject to a minimum amount between Rs 40,000 to 50,000.
  • Annual Surveillance fee would range between 0.01% to 0.07% of the facility amount, per annum with a minimum of Rs 30,000 to 50,000.

Credit Rating exercise typically takes about 2-4 weeks to complete from the date of receipt of the adequate information to carry out the process.

Rating Outlooks indicate the direction in which a rating is likely to move over a one to two-year period. They reflect financial or other trends that have not yet reached the level that would trigger a rating action, but which may do so if such trends continue. The Outlooks could be Stable, Positive or Negative.

The Credit rating is divided into Long Term and Short Term. Long term facilities carry a rating from AAA to D, and short terms are rated as A1 to D. A ‘+’ or ‘-‘ signs may be attached to the Long-Term ratings and Short Term facilities with a sign ‘+’, to indicates the comparative standing within the category.

Detail list of rating and their meaning are as enumerated below:

Long Term Credit Rating and its description
Highest degree of safety regarding timely servicing of financial obligations High degree of safety Adequate degree of safety Investment Grade and Moderate degree of safety Non-investment grade and moderate risk of default Non-investment grade & high risk of default Very high risk of default In default or are expected to be in default soon
Lowest Credit Risk Very low credit risk Low credit risk Moderate credit risk. Inadequate Credit Safety High Credit Risk Substantial Credit Risk Default Risk


Short Term Credit Rating and its description
A1 A2 A3 A4 D
Highest degree of safety regarding timely servicing of financial obligations High degree of safety Moderate degree of safety Minimal degree of safety In default or are expected to be in default on maturity
Lowest Credit Risk Very low credit risk Moderate credit risk. High Credit Risk Default Risk

A credit score is a function of how good you have been with paying your loans on time. A default or a delay in payment will affect the score adversely and reduce your score. The lower the score, the less likely you will get a loan. Banks and Business should get the consent of the user before they can get their credit data from the bureau.

Credit Bureaus provide credit score based on the credit history of an individual. It collects information from member banks/NBFCs regarding all the loans and their repayment status. They have a database which records every loan and the monthly repayment status every month. They also record new loan requests and their approval status. This information is then used to create Credit Information Reports (CIR) and credit scores which are provided to lenders to help evaluate and approve loan applications.

In India, 4 independent Credit bureaus are recognized by RBI and SEBI for providing credit score to individuals. They are CIBIL (TransUnion Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited), CRIF-Highmark, Equifax and Experian.

CIBIL is the first credit bureau to start its operation in India. CIBIL came into play in 2000. The individuals are scored on parameters ranging from 300 to 900, where 900 is the best and 300 is the lowest. A person with no credit history gets a score -1.

CRIF-Highmark established in 2007 and was granted a license in 2010, is India’s sole comprehensive credit rating company that provides seamless services to every type of borrower. This includes MSMEs, commercial borrowers, retail consumers and microfinance borrowers, amongst others. Its scores range from 300 to 850, with 720 and above is the highest and 640 and below is poor.

Experian was established in 2006 and granted a fully functional license in 2010. They, too, provide a credit rating from 300 to 900, where 900 is considered to be the best.

Equifax was granted a fully functional license in 2010 and scores individuals from 1 to 999, with 999 being the highest.

Banks check the credit bureau data and the credit score for every loan application and decide whether they should approve it or not.

Every individual is entitled to a free report once every year. You can buy your report from the respective Bureaus by visiting their web portal. You can access your report by keying in personal details such Name, PAN card number, date of birth, gender, etc., clear the personal verification process, and make fee payment to access your credit report. Aagey.com provides your report free of cost.

850+: Indicates Very Low Risk and Customers having this score are considered to be excellent, and they have an impeccable payment record across all credit products. These are the preferred customer for any kind of loan.

750 – 850: Considered Very Low-Risk customers, with multiple loan types and have exhibited good behaviour across multiple loan accounts. Lenders consider these customers as safe customers.

700 – 750: Considered Low Risk and have multiple loans with sparingly delay in payments, but no defaults. These customers are looked as safe but with a probability of delay payment.

625 – 700: This indicate that the customer may have some payment delays and defaults. Lenders are expected to consider customers in this range as Medium Risk, and some lenders may not extend unsecured loans to such customers.

550 – 625: The range represents a set of customers who has multiple payment delays and defaults with current overdue in various credit accounts and classified as High Risk. Lenders would stay away or would prefer to have documents explaining the reason for delay or default in payments.

300 – 550: This score indicates that the customer is Very High Risk and the lenders will probably not be lending to such customers.

Improving your credit scores takes time. Payment history and credit utilization ratios are among the most important in many critical credit scoring models, and together they can represent up to 70% of a credit score. One can increase scores by taking several steps, like establishing a track record of paying credit cards bills and loan EMIs on time, having a mix of secured and unsecured credit, paying down debt, average 30% utilization of credit limit.

Paying late or settling an account for less than what you originally agreed to pay can negatively affect credit scores. Delinquencies remain on your credit report for seven years, which impacts harshly on the score and takes longer to improve the score. Too many hard inquiries can negatively impact your credit score, though this effect will fade over time. Hard inquiries remain on your credit report for two years. Any wrong reporting unattended for a long time also affects the score adversely.

In certain times, there might be mistakes when it comes to updating your records on to the databases of different bureaus such as incorrect information or delay in recording details. This will also bring down your score. Ensure that you check your credit information report from time to time. This will help you identify any errors and correct them by submitting a Dispute Resolution Form to the respective Bureaus online.

Credit score – 1 or 0 means that no information is available about the borrower’s credit history whatsoever. There is no information to report which makes this score as “NH” or “no history”. Lenders are skeptical in taking exposure to No History borrowers, as they are not sure of repayment habit.

Every credit information bureau follows its own defined mathematical algorithm to provide a score. The score is made up of 4 factors – Payment History, Credit Exposure, Credit Type and Duration and other factors.

Some of the advantages are as below:

  • Quicker approval on credit applications
  • Cheaper interest rates on loans
  • Higher credit card limit
  • Cards with better benefits and rewards
  • Pre-approved loans
  • Loans with longer tenure and higher amount
  • Negotiation power

A credit report is a detailed summary of all your credit activities and payment behaviour. Any credit information Report has four sections:

Credit Score – This section will mention your credit score that will be between 300-900. If you have no credit history or are new to the credit system, your credit score will be -1 or 0 or NH.

Personal Information – This section contains Name, address, mobile number, date of birth, gender, PAN number, passport number, voter ID, driving license number.

Account Information – This is the section which drives the credit score. The notable information displayed is Credit accounts, credit cards, loans with monthly payment history, credit limit, current balance, date when the account was opened, date of last payment, account type (single or joint or guarantor), amount of loan, amount overdue, total outstanding, and payment status.

Credit Inquiries – This section will list names of lenders and the dates on which your credit report was pulled for a credit application. It will also mention the loan size and type of loan you have applied for.


EMI is short for Equated Monthly Installment is a fixed payment made by a borrower to a lender at a specified date in each calendar month. Equated monthly installments are used to pay both the interest and the principal each month so that over a specified number of months, the loan is paid off in full.

An EMI can be approached in two ways of Step Up EMI and Step-Down EMI. The EMIs remain constant for a few months before changing either upward (in case of step Up method) and downward (in case of a step down).

Step Up EMI: Paying a higher EMI amount may not be feasible for borrowers at the very beginning of repayment. Hence, lenders may give them the provision to pay a lower EMI amount in the initial years of repayment. Gradually the amount can be increased during the repayment years. Taking a loan can be unimaginable for the younger generation, but a step-up EMI solves this problem. A step-up loan takes into account the future earning potential of the prospective borrower, which makes it easier for them to afford a loan.

Step Down EMI: Step Down EMI is contrary to the policy of Step Up EMI. At times, a borrower at the time of taking a loan may have a stable and good income to make huge deposits as part of his EMI repayments. In such a scenario, rates are huge initially as the borrower can easily afford high EMI repayments. As the years roll by, the monthly instalments come down.

EMIs has two main parts, i.e. the principal amount and the interest. The interest is charged on the principal amount, which the borrower has to pay for each month of the loan tenure. In the initial years of repayment of the loan, most of the repayment amount is the interest charged. As the principal loan amount depletes due to the repayments, affecting the absolute interest out go down.

MCLR is short for Marginal Cost of Fund based Lending Rate, which is a form of benchmark that banks use to fix the interest rate on floating-rate loans. The RBI has asked banks to link all the floating rate loans to MCLR from April 1, 2016. Even fixed-rate loans with tenors of up to three years are also priced according to MCLR.

MCLR is calculated by taking into account all the borrowings of a bank. Banks borrow funds from various sources, which include Fixed Deposits (FD), a fund in Savings & Current accounts, equity (retained earnings), RBI loans, and so on. Hence, a bank with operating efficiency and access to the cheap fund can have lower MCLR compared to other banks while banks are not allowed to lend below MCLR.

Repo Rate, or Repurchase Rate, is the rate at which the Reserve Bank of India lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. Reverse Repo is the exact opposite of Repo. Banks park money with the RBI for the short term at the prevailing Reverse Repo Rate. The Repo Rate always stands higher than the Reverse Repo Rate, and the spread between the two is RBI’s income.

Repo rate is used as an effective tool by monetary authorities to control inflation. An increase in Repo Rate, reduces the money supply to the economy as borrowing from the RBI become expensive and reduces disposable income and thus arrests inflation. Vice-versa happens when Repo Rate is reduced.

Repo Rate is the most significant rate for the common man too. Everything from interest rates on loans to returns on deposits is influenced by this crucial rate set by the RBI, which is why interest rates on home loans, car loans and other kinds of borrowings go up and down based on the direction of Repo Rate change. Similarly, banks adjust savings account, fixed deposit returns based on this benchmark.

PLR (Prime Lending Rate) is the internal benchmark rate used for setting up the interest rate on floating-rate loans sanctioned by Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) and Housing Finance Companies (HFC). PLR rate is calculated based on the average cost of funds.

A reference rate is an interest rate benchmark used to set other interest rates. The Rate of Interest of the floating rate loans is linked to a reference rate. Reference rates are at the core of an adjustable-rate of interest. With this, the borrower’s interest rate will be the reference rate, plus an additional fixed-rate, known as the spread.

From the lender’s viewpoint, the reference rate is a guaranteed rate of borrowing. At a minimum, the lender always earns the spread as profit. For the borrower, however, changes in the reference rate can have a definite financial impact. If the reference rate makes an upward move, borrowers who pay floating interest rates can see their cash outflow payments rise.

The reference rate can be Repo Rate, MCLR or PLR.

The rate of interest being charged on loan is of three categories depending upon the type of loan being taken by the borrower. They are floating, fixed and hybrid. This usually applies for home loans since repaying the home loan can be quite a task for the borrower of the loan.

A floating rate of interest is one that is flexible and moves along with the reference rate, and reference rate changes according to the market scenario. Most lenders ask the borrower to opt for floating interest rates since they peg their floating rates to the reference rate. It changes with the changes in the market scenario, so if the reference rate falls, your floating rate will also decline and vice versa. Floating rates are lower than fixed rates. They are adjusted every 3 or 6 months.

A fixed interest rate is one that is charged on the principal amount of a loan taken by a borrower throughout the tenor of the loan. A fixed-rate also shields you against adverse movement of Repo, MCLR, PLR or any reference rate. For long term loans, it is preferred unless one has plans to close the loan in the medium term.

A hybrid rate of interest is one that is a combination of both fixed and floating rates of interest. Sometimes, mortgages can have multiple interest rate options. A hybrid rate of interest ensures that the repayment tenure has an interest rate that is made up of both of a fixed rate for some portion of the term and floating rate for the rest. This kind of arrangement tries to shield borrower from an increase in reference rate in medium-term and benefits lowering of reference rate in the long term.

Term Sheet: A term sheet is a bank’s non-binding letter of intent, an indication of their interest in the proposed loan. Term sheets are provided by lenders to prospective borrowers prior to a full underwriting of and credit approval by the lender. When a term sheet is issued to the borrower, it signifies that the bank or the financial institution is interested in the proposed loan. This, however, does not indicate that the loan is approved and is in no form a commitment by the bank. It is more like a sheet that indicates that your loan is taken under consideration positively and can be discussed further.

Sanction Letter: Once the lender is convinced of the borrowers’ credibility and credentials, a decision of acceptance or rejection of loan is taken. When the loan is approved, a sanction letter is issued to the borrower of the loan. This letter is of utmost importance in the entire loan application process right from the application to the final disbursement. This letter is documental proof that the applicant is eligible for a certain amount of loan by the lender. It also includes the Terms and Conditions from the lender. Keep in mind that the sanction letter does not mean a legal approval of the loan. It usually has a validity period between 30 to 60 days from the date of issuance.

The sanction letter states that the lender is ready to proceed with the approval of a loan and include the following details:

  • The total loan amount sanctioned
  • Tenure for the loan repayment
  • Processing fee and other associated charges
  • Applicable interest rates – fixed or floating Rate of Interest (ROI)
  • Actual applied Rate of Interest
  • Reference Rate for interest calculation
  • Applicable EMI or Pre-EMI amount
  • The validity period of the sanction letter
  • Part-payment and pre-payment charges
  • Security asked for

It is to be noted that the sanction letter does not mean a legal approval of the loan. Before disbursing the loan, amount borrower has to submit the further documents and sign the loan agreement. The sanction letter is an important document in the loan process, and it should be kept safely for future reference.

A top-Up loan is an additional facility that is being provided by the lender to the existing borrowers over and above the principal outstanding. This can be done based on the existing security or by providing additional collateral. The lender relies on good repayment history of the borrower and depletion of the original loan amount. Top up, or enhancement is a cost-effective way of getting additional funding. This is very common in a mortgage loan. A home loan is not eligible for a top-up loan unless the additional fund is required for home improvement.

Renewal refers to renewing of the existing limit in case of working capital facility or taking on a fresh loan at the end of a previous one. The lender here relies on prompt repayment and account conduct to renew the facility.

A loan agreement is drawn according to the parties mentioned in the Sanction Letter. A loan arrangement may have Borrower, Co-borrower and Guarantor and all these parties could be individual or non-individual legal persons. The borrower is also known as the applicant. Minor, mentally unsound or insolvent persons cannot be part a loan since as per Indian Contract Act, they are ineligible to party to any contract.

The primary responsibility of repaying the loan to the lender according to the Terms & conditions laid down in the sanction letter and loan agreement is of the Borrower or Applicant.

A Co-Borrower or Co-Applicant is a person who is applying for the loan along with the Borrower / Applicant. Sometimes, paying off the loan can be quite a task for the applicant. Hence, having an additional income as a supplement helps to pay back the loan easily. This is also done to increase the eligibility value of the applicant so that the lender is assured of the borrower’s repayment capabilities. Banks and financial institutions may have few specified relations to be co-applicants. A co-borrower is liable to repay the entire debt with the original borrower whether the borrower defaults or not. Although the principal borrower always undertakes to pay back the entire debt, the co-borrower bears an identical financial and legal responsibility as if they had taken the loan themselves.

A guarantor is an individual or corporate body that guarantees on behalf of the borrower, to repay the debt in the event that the borrower is unable to pay so. He is like a surety ensuring that the loan shall be repaid. A guarantor, too, needs to be with a good credit history and sufficient income for if the time comes to pay the loan amount. A guarantor cannot back out once the loan agreement is signed and sealed until the end of the loan repayment tenure. Moreover, the guarantor is permitted to recover from the defaulting borrower, all the money that has been paid to the lender.

The Co-borrower is always liable for the payment of the loan whether the principal borrower pays back or not. If the principal borrower cannot pay at all or starts to default, the lender can request for full payment from the co-borrower. However, a guarantor, is not liable until the principal borrower defaults and the lender has taken all necessary steps to collect the payment. To get the guarantor to pay back the loan, the lender would have to prove that the principal borrower has defaulted.

Moreover, the guarantor is permitted to recover from the defaulting borrower, all the money that has been paid to the lender. But the co-borrower may only recover from the borrower half of the debt they paid to the lender. In addition, a guarantor may be released from the initial contract of guarantee before the loan term ends subject to satisfying conditions stipulated by the lender. In contrast, a co-borrower does not enjoy this privilege.

Any lender would like to assess borrowers’ credibility by knowing who is behind the company, that is called as Beneficiary Owner (BO). The actual decision to utilize the funds borrowed by an entity is managed by the Partners / Directors / Promoters / Trustees / Society members, and hence the lender would try to ensure that there is no person with questionable repute or poor credit history in these roles. This not only is a judgement on the intention to repay but also provides some direction whether the company has enough expertise to grow the business and have the ability to repay. Since the ultimate decision-makers are the Partner / Director/ Promoters / Members, lenders insist on taking them as part of the loan structure to ensure accountability of the repayment. A lender can extend loans to the firm, company or trust based on the property of the partners, directors or trustees, respectively.

The Banking Ombudsman is a senior official appointed by the Reserve Bank of India to redress customer complaints against deficiency in certain banking services covered under the grounds of complaint specified under Clause 8 of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006.

A customer can also lodge a complaint on the following grounds of deficiency in service with respect to loans and advances

  • non-observance of Reserve Bank Directives on interest rates;
  • delays in sanction, disbursement or non-observance of the prescribed time schedule for disposal of loan applications;
  • non-acceptance of application for loans without furnishing valid reasons to the applicant; and
  • non-adherence to the provisions of the fair practices code for lenders as adopted by the bank or Code of Bank’s Commitment to Customers, as the case may be;
  • non-observance of any other direction or instruction of the Reserve Bank as may be specified by the Reserve Bank for this purpose from time to time.
  • The Banking Ombudsman may also deal with such other matter as may be specified by the Reserve Bank from time to time.

Banking Ombudsman is located at designated places and dispute can be raised to them by the complainee. Ombudsman investigates the complaint filed and decides the correct measures to be taken to resolve the issue. A complaint can be lodged online through RBI portal on to the respective geographical Ombudsman. The list of ombudsmen is available on RBI portal and can be accessed through the following link:


Lenders insist on taking loan protection insurance plan to cover eventualities leading to permanent disability or death of the borrower so that the loan can be repaid without burdening the family of the borrower. This kind of insurance cover is known as Loan Shield or Credit Shield. It is a single premium plan and is of the same duration as the loan term. The sum assured is equal to the loan amount. Here the beneficiary is the lender. Many of the lender fund the premium along with the loan amount and the premium amount get amortized over the loan tenor. Few lenders also bundle the loan offer with health insurance as an added feature.

As a practice, the security mortgaged, hypothecated or pledged needs to be protected from the unforeseeable eventuality like an accident, fire, natural calamities and perils. The borrower must protect the assets offered as security and collateral to the lender. Hence, the loan structure made mandatory to ensure Building, stock, machinery, vehicle or any other assets which have been offered as security or collateral and the insurance need to be assigned to the lender

In case a borrower has a better offer from another lender, he may transfer his loan from the existing lender to the other. This concept is called the Balance Transfer. Since the outstanding loan is taken over by the new lender, it is named so. Generally, Balance Transfer provides a better rate of interest than the existing and in some cases, a longer tenure than the existing loan.

When the new lender provides additional loan on the same security post taking over the loan is known as Balance Transfer with Top Up. This is widely popular in Home loan and mortgage loan.

When the borrower wants to buy a property from the seller who has mortgaged the said property to a particular lender, in such case, the amount payable by the customer will be adjusted first against outstanding amount of the lender and rest of the amount to the seller. The property to be released from the lender of the seller. In such a case, we have a better option of applying for a loan in the same lender instead of applying in a different lender. This concept is called Seller Balance Transfer.

Business income is the income earned in the ordinary course of business from main operations. It is from the sale of goods or rendering of services. Non-business income is the income earned from non-core operations. It included dividend, interest or rental, etc.

While calculating eligibility, non-business income is given lesser weightage compared to business income. If the non-business income is recurring, the same can be considered as an added comfort for loan eligibility calculation.

One-time income is the income earned out of the one-time activity and not expected to be recurring in nature. It could be capital against; liabilities are written off, profit from the sale of investment or assets, etc. Recurring income is the income which is expected to be occurring in the normal course of business and repetitive. Recurring income is that part of income that the business owner expects to keep recurring even in the future. Unlike one-time income, these are more predictable and can be counted on to be received at regular intervals. All business income is recurring income, and all non-business income are not one-time income. Non-business income can be recurring income also (Dividend, Interest, etc.)

For loan eligibility calculation, non-business incomes are excluded or considered to the extent of recurring in nature for determining the repayment capacity of the borrower. One-time income is not considered for eligibility calculation.

Forex gain/loss is dependent on currency fluctuations. If the customer is export dominant, then forex is part of direct income/loss; otherwise, it needs to be treated as indirect income/loss. If it is part of indirect income, the treatment is like non-business income and may be excluded from the overall income for calculation of eligibility.

Speculative gains/losses are the outcomes of intra-day trading in the capital market or through derivatives. If nature of business is directly related to broking, trading or hedging, then these are part of direct income/loss, otherwise indirect and are considered to be non-business activity. Thus, affecting the eligibility calculation.

Security can be created through 4 ways

  • Hypothecation
  • Pledge
  • Lien
  • Mortgage

Hypothecation is the practice where a debtor pledges collateral to secure a debt or as a condition precedent to the debt, or a third–party pledges collateral for the debtor. A letter of hypothecation is the instrument for carrying out a pledge.

A pledge is a bailment that conveys possessory title to property owned by a debtor to a creditor to secure repayment for some debt or obligation and to the mutual benefit of both parties. The term is also used to denote the property which constitutes the security. The pledge is a type of security interest

A lien is a form of security interest granted over an item of property to secure the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation. The owner of the property, who grants the lien, is referred to as the lienee and the person who has the benefit of the lien is referred to as the lienor or lien holder. In other words, a right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by that person is discharged

A mortgage loan is the financing against the market value of the property. The property could be residential, commercial, industrial and even vacant site or land.

Most of the lenders look for 2 consecutive filed Income Tax Returns for extending loan. But as an exception, few lenders may provide a loan based on only one-year ITR provided 3 to 5 years business vintage proof is available. Loan such as unsecured Business Loan is highly difficult to get with non-compliance on return filing status.

It is recommended to file the missed return and apply for a loan as this will considerably improve your chances of approval.

When an individual does not pay back their loan and has payments due, they become a defaulter in the eyes of the lender they have borrowed it from. All borrowers are provided with an opportunity and the right to approach the bank in case there is a difficulty in repaying the instalments and in choosing an option to restructure their debt to enable a smooth repayment process.

In difficult times, instead of defaulting on payment, approaching the lenders to find a solution is advisable to maintain a clear repayment history with credit bureaus too.

Special Mention Accounts (SMA) are those loan accounts that show symptoms of bad asset quality in the first 90 days itself or before it is identified as NPA. The classification of SMA was introduced by the RBI in 2014, to identify the accounts that have the potential to become a NPA Asset.

There are four types of SMA: SMA – 0, SMA – 1, SMA – 2 and SMA – NF.

SMA – 0, the overdue period is between 0 to 30 days.

SMA – 1, the overdue period is between 31 to 60 days.

SMA – 2, account an overdue between 61 to 90 days.

SMA – NF, identified on the basis of Non-financial factors such as delay in renewal or delay in submission of stock statement.

If a borrower’s any of the account is classified as SMA, new lenders will hesitate to fresh exposure. Prolonged SMA status also affects the credit score adversely.

A non-performing asset (NPA) is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payment remained overdue for a period of 90 days. NPAs are further classified as Substandard, Doubtful and Loss assets.

Substandard assets: Assets which has remained NPA for a period less than or equal to 12 months.

Doubtful assets: An asset would be classified as doubtful if it has remained in the substandard category for a period of 12 months.

Loss assets: Loss asset is considered uncollectible and of such little value that its continuance as a bankable asset is not warranted, although there may be some salvage or recovery value.

Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRT) are established to facilitate the recovery of debt involving banks and other financial institutions with their customers. Under the Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (RDBBFI), 1993 Debt Recovery Tribunals or DRT’s take on loan cases from banks for Rs. 20 Lakh and above.

The main objective and role of DRT is the recovery of funds from borrowers which is payable to banks and financial institutions. The Tribunal has all the powers as the District Court. The Tribunal also has a Recovery officer who guides in executing the recovery Certificates as passed by the Presiding Officers.

SARFAESI is short for Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act of 2002. This law allows banks and other financial institution to auction residential or commercial properties of defaulters to recover loans without the intervention of the court.

Under SARFAESI, only secured debts, i.e., debts secured by way of underlying assets can be dealt with, and minimum debt amount eligible for recovery under SARFAESI is Rs. 1 Lakh.

SARFAESI Act is enacted in addition to DRT (RDB Act). Here are the key differences between them.

  1. Under the RDB Act, Recovery of debts is made through quasi-judicial bodies called Debt Recovery Tribunals. Whereas, under SARFAESI, collateral security can be recovered by the Bank/NBFC itself without approaching any court or Tribunal.
  2. Under the RDB Act, any debt can be recovered. Whereas, under SARFAESI, only secured debts, i.e., debts secured by way of underlying assets can be recovered.
  3. Minimum debt amount to approach a DRT is Rs. 20 Lakhs. Whereas, the minimum debt amount eligible for recovery under SARFAESI is Rs. 1 Lakh.

If there is only Depreciation loss and Net worth is positive, still a loan can be availed. The loan amount may get restricted.

In the case of Business Loss, the business generates negative cash flow; hence the viability of the business is questionable. Few lenders have loan products, which are assessed based on financial factors other than looking into business performances. Such schemes may come handy in such situations.

The repayment schedule is the schedule which mentions EMI due dates, EMI bifurcated into Interest and Principal, and closing balance of the loan after each EMI.

Loan statement is the statement which mentions actual repayment of the loan in contrast to the repayment schedule, bouncing and overdue charges and actual balance outstanding.

The banker is keen on looking at loan statement as it reflects the credit history of the borrower.

In most of the time, getting a loan approved without recent Income-tax Return is difficult. However, few lenders offer schemes under which a limited amount of loan can be availed without submission of Income Tax Returns. The eligibility assessment based on other financial parameters. The loan sanctioned bears lesser tenure and a higher rate of interest as a mitigate to the higher risk taken by the lender.

It is recommended to file the recent Income Tax Returns to improve your chances of approval and competitive offer from potential lenders.

An EMI can be paid through NACH, ECS or SI.

NACH stands for National Automated Clearing House and is a centralized clearing service created to provide high interbank volume, low-value transactions that are repetitive and periodic.

Electronic Clearing Service or ECS is an electronic mode of funds transfer from one bank account to another. Institutions can also use it for making payments such as the distribution of dividend interest, salary, pension, among others.

SI is short for Standing instructions that the borrower issues the lender. This is a modern, quick ay mode used by many borrowers wherein your bank account is directly debited for the EMI amounts, under your Standing Instructions. Here the lender and the saving or current account provider is the same.

NACH is a modern and efficient method of repayment. The difference in operation makes NACH preferred method of EMI payment. The differences are

  • ECS is a manual process and, takes a lot of time and faces verification issues. In NACH, the workflow is defined, and this helps save much time.
  • NACH provides a unique mandate registration reference number which can be used for future reference.
  • NACH involves less paperwork, so the rejection ratio is less when compared to ECS.
  • With NACH, your payment gets settled on the same day, while ECS takes 3 to 4 days for the same.
  • NACH features a dispute-management system, which will resolve your issues easily, while ECS has no such systems in place.
  • NACH registrations take only 15 days, while ECS registrations take 30 days.

Inward cheque returns mean that a person issued a cheque which got returned due to insufficient funds in his/her account whereas Outward cheque returns mean that a person deposited a cheque received from a third person which bounced back due to insufficiency of funds.

Inward cheque return is the cheque issued to vendor gets bounced, which is very critical for any loan. If Inward cheques returns as a percentage of total debts are more than 2%, chances of getting approval for a loan application is low unless there is a logical explanation. Frequent Inward cheque returns denote, the borrower has cash flow mismanagement and may find difficulty in honoring EMI commitment on the due date.

Outward cheque return is the bouncing of cheque issued by the debtors of the customer, which is not the key determinant of a loan application. However, very high outward cheque returns as a % of total credits (>3%) are always a critical factor while determining the banking health of the customer. This also means the borrower has debtor who has poor commitment level and may turn bad debt at some point in time.

Most of the lenders look for a business track record for lending. A newly started business or startup fails to exhibit historical business performance, thereby fall short of getting funding under widely known loan products. Understanding this situation and to support the startup eco-system, many Banks and financial institutions offer loan schemes that are designed to fund startups through innovative products such as Factoring or Bills Discounting. Central Govt’s CGTMSE scheme and Growth Capital and Equity Assistance Scheme by SIDBI also play a vital role in finding funding assistance to startups. Few fintech starts up offer funding against digital receivable by newly started entities.