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Economic/Banking Terms

Bank rate: Bank Rate is the rate at which central bank of the country (in India it is RBI) allows finance to commercial banks. Bank Rate is a tool, which central bank uses for short-term purposes. Any upward revision in Bank Rate by central bank is an indication that banks should also increase deposit rates as well as Prime Lending Rate. This any revision in the Bank rate indicates could mean more or less interest on your deposits and also an increase or decrease in your EMI.

CRR: Cash Reserve Ratio. Banks in India are required to hold a certain proportion of their deposits in the form of cash. However, actually Banks don’t hold these as cash with themselves, but deposit such case with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) / currency chests, which is considered as equivlanet to holding cash with themselves.. This minimum ratio (that is the part of the total deposits to be held as cash) is stipulated by the RBI and is known as the CRR or Cash Reserve Ratio. Thus, When a bank’s deposits increase by Rs100, and if the cash reserve ratio is 9%, the banks will have to hold additional Rs 9 with RBI and Bank will be able to use only Rs 91 for investments and lending / credit purpose. Therefore, higher the ratio (i.e. CRR), the lower is the amount that banks will be able to use for lending and investment. This power of RBI to reduce the lendable amount by increasing the CRR, makes it an instrument in the hands of a central bank through which it can control the amount that banks lend. Thus, it is a tool used by RBI to control liquidity in the banking system.

SLR: Every bank is required to maintain at the close of business every day, a minimum proportion of their Net Demand and Time Liabilities as liquid assets in the form of cash, gold and un-encumbered approved securities. The ratio of liquid assets to demand and time liabilities is known as Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR). Presently, the SLR is 25% with effect from 7 November 2009 (as on Jan 2011). RBI is empowered to increase this ratio up to 40%. An increase in SLR also restrict the bank’s leverage position to pump more money into the economy. What is SLR ? (For Non Bankers) : SLR stands for Statutory Liquidity Ratio. This term is used by bankers and indicates the minimum percentage of deposits that the bank has to maintain in form of gold, cash or other approved securities. Thus, we can say that it is ratio of cash and some other approved to liabilities (deposits) It regulates the credit growth in India.

Repo rate and Reverse Repo rate: Repo (Repurchase) rate is the rate at which the RBI lends shot-term money to the banks. When the repo rate increases borrowing from RBI becomes more expensive. Therefore, we can say that in case, RBI wants to make it more expensive for the banks to borrow money, it increases the repo rate; similarly, if it wants to make it cheaper for banks to borrow money, it reduces the repo rate Reverse Repo rate is the rate at which banks park their short-term excess liquidity with the RBI. The RBI uses this tool when it feels there is too much money floating in the banking system. An increase in the reverse repo rate means that the RBI will borrow money from the banks at a higher rate of interest. As a result, banks would prefer to keep their money with the RBI Thus, we can conclude that Repo Rate signifies the rate at which liquidity is injected in the banking system by RBI, whereas Reverse repo rate signifies the rate at which the central bank absorbs liquidity from the banks.

MICR: "Magnetic Ink Character Recognition" code (pronounced my-ker) is a nine-digit number printed on banking instruments such as a cheque or a demand draft using a special type of ink made of magnetic material. The first three digits denote the city. The fourth to sixth digits denote the bank, while the last three digits denote the branch number. The code is read by a machine, minimizing the chances of error in clearing of cheques, thereby making funds transfer faster. For example, in the MICR code 400240019, 400 denotes Mumbai, 240 denotes HDFC Bank Ltd and 019 denotes the Colaba branch of the bank. You will find the number on the right of the cheque number at the bottom of the cheque leaf.

RTGS: "Real Time Gross Settlement" is a fund transfer mechanism that enables money to move from one bank to another on a real time and gross basis. Simply put, real time means the transaction is settled instantly without any waiting period and gross means that it is not bunched with any other transaction. You can transfer a minimum of Rs1 lakh through RTGS; there is no upper ceiling though. The bank will charge you Rs25-Rs50 for an outward RTGS transaction, inward transactions are free. RTGS is the fastest inter-bank money transfer facility available through secure banking channels in India. But not all branches in India are RTGS enabled. click here to find a list of branches where you will get this facility. When do you need it: This facility would be handy during an emergency, when you need to transfer funds quickly, imagine an ill child studying in another city or a parent in an emergency situation and needing money at once. You would be able to use this facility if you use Internet banking as a channel. It is mostly used by high networth individuals and businessmen, who have at least Rs1 lakh to be transferred business associates or clients.

NEFT: National electronic funds transfer What is it: NEFT enables funds transfer from one bank to another but works a bit differently than RTGS since the settlement takes place in batches rather than individually, making NEFT slower than RTGS. The transfer is not direct and RBI acts as the service provider to transfer the money from one account to another. You can transfer any amount through NEFT, even a rupee. You won’t have to pay any fee for inward transfer of funds, but for outward transactions the charges can be from Rs5-Rs25 depending on the amount transferred. When do you need it: You can use this facility if you want to transfer funds online in a day or two. NEFT can make life easier for those who need to send money to their parents or children living in another city. It cuts the trouble of issuing a cheque or draft and posting it. NEFT, too, can be done only through Internet banking. Visit RBI website for a list of branches where you will get this facility. IFSC: India financial system code What is it: An 11-digit alphanumeric (letters and numbers) code that helps identify bank branches. The first four numbers represent the bank’s code (alphabetic), the fifth number is a control character (0), and the next six numbers denote a bank branch. For example, the IFSC for HDFC Bank Ltd’s Colaba branch in Mumbai reads as HDFC0000085. This code is mentioned on your cheque. Different banks mention it at different places on the cheque. When do you need it: When sending money through RTGS or NEFT, you need to know the IFSC of the receiving branch.

CVV: Card verification value What is it: CVV is an anti-fraud security feature that helps verify that you are in possession of your credit card and making the transaction. CVV is usually a three-digit number printed on the signature panel at the back of your credit card. When do you need it: You need this number when shopping online or over the phone. You need to be careful with this number as it can make you a victim of fraud. It’s best to remember this number and blacken it off from your card. PAP: Payable at par or MCC: Multi-city cheques What is it: PAP or MCC cheques can be encashed anywhere in India, irrespective of the city they were issued in. They are treated as local clearing cheques across the country. The amount is credited in the account the same day and there are no inter-city collection charges associated with a normal cheques being encashed in another city. A cheque issued at a branch in Chennai, can be encashed at a branch in Dibrugarh as if it were a local cheque. There would be a notation on the top or the bottom of a cheque indicating its status as as PAP or MCC cheque. When do you need it: By issuing a PAP or MCC cheque, you can save demand draft or cheque clearing costs. Usually, these cheques are issued by companies to disburse dividends or redemption amounts.

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