In India, the legal framework of RBI’s control over the credit structure has been provided Under Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. Quantitative credit controls are used to maintain proper quantity of credit of money supply in market. Some of the important general credit control methods are
Bank Rate Policy
Bank rate is the rate at which the Central bank lends money to the commercial banks for their liquidity requirements. Bank rate is also called discount rate. In other words bank rate is the rate at which the central bank rediscounts eligible papers (like approved securities, bills of exchange, commercial papers etc) held by commercial banks. Bank rate is important because it is the pace setter to other market rates of interest. Bank rates have been changed several times by RBI to control inflation and recession. Bank rate is 8.25% w.e.f. 03/05/2013.
Open market operations
It refers to buying and selling of government securities in open market in order to expand or contract the amount of money in the banking system. This technique is superior to bank rate policy. Purchases inject money into the banking system while sale of securities do the opposite. During last two decades the RBI has been undertaking switch operations. These involve the purchase of one loan against the sale of another or, vice-versa. This policy aims at preventing unrestricted increase in liquidity.
Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)
The Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is an effective instrument of credit control. Under the RBl Act of, l934 every commercial bank has to keep certain minimum cash reserves with RBI. The RBI is empowered to vary the CRR between 3% and 15%. A high CRR reduces the cash for lending and a low CRR increases the cash for lending. The CRR has been brought down from 15% in 1991 to 7.5% in May 2001. It further reduced to 5.5% in December 2001. It stood at 5% on January 2009. In January 2010, RBI increased the CRR from 5% to 5.75%. It further increased in April 2010 to 6% as inflationary pressures had started building up in the economy. As of March 2011, CRR is 6% and now it is 4% w.e.f.09/02/2013.
Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)
Under SLR, the government has imposed an obligation on the banks to; maintain a certain ratio to its total deposits with RBI in the form of liquid assets like cash, gold and other securities. The RBI has power to fix SLR in the range of 25% and 40% between 1990 and 1992 SLR was as high as 38.5%. Narasimham Committee did not favour maintenance of high SLR. The SLR was lowered down to 25% from 10th October 1997. It was further reduced to 24% on November 2008. At present it is 23% w.e.f.11/08/2012.
Credit Control Function
Commercial bank in the country creates credit according to the demand in the economy. But if this credit creation is unchecked or unregulated then it leads the economy into inflationary cycles. On the other credit creation is below the required limit then it harms the growth of the economy. As a central bank of the nation the RBI has to look for growth with price stability. Thus it regulates the credit creation capacity of commercial banks by using various credit control tools.
Repo and Reverse Repo Rates
In determining interest rate trends, the repo and reverse repo rates are becoming important. Repo means Sale and Repurchase Agreement. Repo is a swap deal involving the immediate Sale of Securities and simultaneous purchase of those securities at a future date, at a predetermined price. Repo rate helps commercial banks to acquire funds from RBI by selling securities and also agreeing to repurchase at a later date.
Reverse repo rate is the rate that banks get from RBI for parking their short term excess funds with RBI. Repo and reverse repo operations are used by RBI in its Liquidity Adjustment Facility. RBI contracts credit by increasing the repo and reverse repo rates and by decreasing them it expands credit. Repo rate was 6.75% in March 2011 and Reverse repo rate was 5.75% for the same period. On May 2011 RBI announced Monetary Policy for 2011-12. To reduce inflation it hiked repo rate to 7.25% and Reverse repo to 6.25% w.e.f 03/05/2013