I think that the equity markets have topped out and have cashed out all my equity and equity mutual fund holdings, and am thus sitting on a pile of cash, which I’m looking to invest in debt. Happened to check out the websites of a few banks where I hold accounts and what caught my eye was the discontinuity in the yield curves.
Here is HDFC Bank:
|1 year 1 day – 1 year 15 days||Below Rs.15 Lacs||6.00%||6.50%||May 18, 2009|
|1 year 16 days||Below Rs.15 Lacs||6.50%||7.00%||August 03, 2009|
|1 year 17 days – 2 years||Below Rs.15 Lacs||6.00%||6.50%||May 18, 2009|
|2 years 1 day – 2 years 15 days||Below Rs.15 Lacs||6.00%||6.50%||May 18, 2009|
|2 years 16 days||Below Rs.15 Lacs||7.00%||7.50%||August 03, 2009|
|2 years 17 days – 3 years||Below Rs.15 Lacs||6.00%||6.50%||May 18, 2009|
|3 years 1 day – 5 years||Below Rs.15 Lacs||6.00%||6.50%||May 18, 2009|
Notice the discontinuity? About how for a couple of randomly chosen dates the interest rates suddenly shoot up?
Similarly with ICICI Bank:
|391 days to 589 days||6.25||6.25|
|591 days to less than 2 years||6.25||6.25|
|2 years to 789 days||7.00||7.00|
|791days to 989 days||7.00||7.00|
|991 days to less than 3 years||7.00||7.00|
Again same story. On certain “magical” days, interest rates shoot up. The degree of increase in rates here is much less dramatic, though. Nevertheless this is extremely interesting, and I wonder why. I remember last year going to Karnataka Bank and asking for a 1 year deposit, and they asked me to make one for 400 days saying that I’ll get 0.5% per annum better for that.
This morning I went to State Bank of India and found that they don’t offer these special rates. I had a friend check at another nationalized bank and found that they too don’t offer special rates. Wonder why the private banks are offering it, though. Why it makes that big a difference to them that the deposit is for 990 days as against 991 or 889. Or is it some way to prevent early closure?
In other news, SBI is offering teaser rates for home and auto loans. Their ads have been there all over the airwaves for the last few weeks. They offer 8% for first year, 8.5% for second and third years and then what they call as “normal rates” after that. If SBI is getting into teaser rates, god only save Indian finance.