Base Rate: Why It’s Important in Decision Making

March 27, 2023


Buying a home is one of the most significant investments you’ll make in your lifetime, and choosing the right home loan can make all the difference. The base rate is one crucial factor that impacts your home loan interest rate. The base rate is the minimum interest rate set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that banks can charge on loans. But what is the base rate, and how does it impact your home loan? In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of base rates and give you tips for getting the best home loan rates despite fluctuations in the base rate. So, let’s get started!

Current Base Rate of Banks in 2023

The following table depicts the current base rate of banks in India in 2023

Bank Name Base Rate
  Axis Bank (Base Rate)   8.45 per cent
  Canara Bank (Base Rate)   8.80 per cent
  HDFC Bank (Base Rate)   7.45 per cent
  Dhanlaxmi Bank (Base Rate)   9.80 per cent
  Andhra Bank/Union Bank (Base Rate)   8.40 per cent
  SBI (State Bank of India) (Base Rate)   7.55 per cent
  Bank of Baroda (Base Rate)   8.15 per cent
  Karnataka Bank (Base Rate)   8.00 per cent
  IDBI Bank (Base Rate)   9.65 per cent
  Kotak Mahindra Bank (Base Rate)   7.30 per cent
  PNB (Base Rate)   8.50 per cent
  Union Bank of India   8.40 per cent
  Syndicate Bank/Canara Bank (Base Rate)   8.80 per cent
  Corporation Bank/Union Bank (Base Rate)   8.40 per cent
  Bank of India (Base Rate)   8.80 per cent
  Oriental Bank of Commerce/PNB (Base Rate)   8.50 per cent
  Punjab & Sind Bank (Base Rate)   9.70 per cent
  Catholic Syrian Bank (Base Rate)   9.35 per cent
  RBL Bank (Base Rate)   8.50 per cent
  Bank of Maharashtra (Base Rate)   9.40 per cent

What is Base Rate?

The base rate is the minimum lending rate a financial institution can offer its customers. It is the benchmark rate used to calculate the lending rates for various types of loans, including home, personal, and business loans. The base rate is determined based on multiple factors, including the cost of funds, operational costs, and risk premium.

The base rate affects home loans by determining the interest rate the borrower will be charged. Banks add a spread or a margin to the base rate to arrive at the final interest rate they charge their customers. The spread depends on factors such as the borrower’s credit score, the loan amount, and the loan tenure. Therefore, the base rate indirectly impacts your home loan interest rate.

How Is the Base Rate Calculated?

The calculation of base rates involves considering four essential factors:

  • The cost of acquiring funds
  • The costs associated with operating the bank
  • The minimum marginal return rate required
  • The cash reserve ratio

The base rate formula is a sum of these four factors, expressed as a percentage.

Here is the base rate formula:

Base Rate Percentage = Cost of Funds Incurred by Banks + Minimum Rate of Return + Operating cost + Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)

Uses of the Base Rate System

The Reserve Bank of India introduced the base rate system to ensure transparency and fairness in the credit market. Before its implementation, the interest rates banks charge on loans were unclear and could vary widely. The base rate serves as a benchmark rate for all types of loans and helps maintain consistency and fairness in interest rate pricing. This system allows borrowers to compare the rates offered by different banks and make informed decisions while choosing a lender.

Additionally, banks must review their base rate at least once a quarter, ensuring it reflects the current market conditions. Overall, the base rate system helps promote transparency and accountability in the credit market, benefiting lenders and borrowers.

The Importance of Base Rate

The base rate plays a crucial role in the economy, affecting various aspects such as inflation, investment, and employment. Here are some of the reasons why the base rate is significant:

  • Influences borrowing and lending activities: The base rate sets the tone for the interest rates charged by commercial banks on loans, which in turn affects the borrowing and lending activities in the economy.
  • Affects investment decisions: The base rate affects the returns on various investment options, such as fixed deposits, bonds, and stocks.
  • Impacts inflation: The base rate directly impacts the inflation rate in the economy. If the central bank lowers the base rate, it increases the money supply, leading to a rise in prices.
  • Influences employment: The base rate affects the employment rate in the economy as it impacts businesses’ borrowing and investment decisions.

Who Calculates the Base Rate in India?

In India, to ensure consistency in lending practices, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) sets a base rate that applies to all banks in the country. Banks can set their own rates for different loan categories as long as they are not lower than the RBI’s base rate. Banks can use any benchmark to calculate their base rate, but they must disclose the methodology used in full.

Banks are free to choose any appropriate methodology as long as it is consistent and subject to supervisory review. In addition to the base rate, banks may charge borrower-specific fees such as operating costs, credit risk premiums, and tenure premiums. These fees are determined at the bank’s discretion.

What are the Effects of the Base Rate?

The introduction of the base rate system by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has brought about changes that affect both large corporations and individual retail customers. Previously, large corporations could borrow money at a lower interest rate under the BPLR system. However, the case scenario is different now, as the banks cannot lend money at a rate lower than the base rate. It means that corporate lending has become more expensive.

For retail customers, the impact of the base rate system is more complex and depends on specific circumstances. For example, a change of 25 basis points (0.25%) compared to their current interest rate could either increase or decrease their borrowing costs. However, existing customers are generally unaffected by the base rate changes.

How Does Base Rate Impacts Your Home Loan Interest Rate?

When the base interest rate increases, it affects the cost of borrowing home loans. Lenders use the base rate, along with other factors, to decide on the interest rates they will charge borrowers. If it costs the lender more to lend you the money you need for your home loan, they will increase the interest rates to cover their additional expenses.

If you have a fixed-rate loan, it won’t be impacted until your product reaches the end of its term. However, you will be affected if you have a variable-rate loan.

For first-time buyers, the impact may vary depending on lender and where they are in the home-buying process. It’s essential to monitor the base rate, and how it may affect your home loan interest rates, so you can plan accordingly and make informed decisions about your finances.

Base Rate vs MCLR: Which is Better for Home Loans?

When it comes to home loans, it’s essential to understand the difference between the Base Rate and the MCLR. The Base Rate is the minimum rate at which a bank can lend, while the MCLR is a more dynamic rate based on the bank’s current cost of funds.

While the Base Rate may seem like a more stable option, the MCLR is a better choice for home loans because it considers the current market conditions and the bank’s cost of funds. It means that the MCLR can fluctuate, but it can also result in lower interest rates for borrowers.

Here is how these rates differ from one another:

MCLR Base Rate
MCLR orients around the marginal or incremental cost of funds Base rate orients around the average cost of funds
It is calculated based on the tenure premium Base rate orients around the average cost of funds
An individual can determine MCLR by taking deposit rates as well as repo rates into account. In addition, operating costs, along with the cost of maintaining the cash reserve ratio, can be considered. The base rate is additionally governed based on operating expenses, as well as expenses required for maintaining the cash reserve ratio.
MCLR can vary based on the loan tenure. Vendors can change the rate every quarter.

How Does Base Rate Affect Borrowers and Depositors?

The base rate directly impacts the interest rates commercial banks charge on loans and the interest rates paid to depositors. Here’s how the base rate affects borrowers and depositors:

  • Borrowers: If the central bank lowers the base rate, it decreases the interest rates charged by commercial banks on loans. It makes borrowing cheaper, and borrowers may choose to take more loans.
  • Depositors: If the central bank lowers the base rate, it decreases the interest rates paid to depositors. It makes saving less attractive, and depositors may withdraw their money and invest it in other options offering better returns.


The RBI replaced the old BPLR system with the more transparent base rate system in 2010. Banks can now set their base interest rates, but they cannot be lower than the base rate designated by the RBI. It allows individuals and businesses to apply for loans with a clear understanding of how the interest rate is calculated. The base rate system applies to all new loans and renewals of existing loans, but existing loans based on the BPLR system can continue until they mature. This change has brought transparency to interest rates, making it easier for borrowers to understand how much they will have to pay back.

Related Resource
Top 10 Best Bank for Home Loan In India 2023
Project Completion Certificate
Home Loan Sanction Letter
Commencement Certificate
Conveyance Deed


What is the current base rate of the RBI?

The current base rate of the RBI range between 7.75% to 8.80%.

How can I negotiate with my bank to get a better Base Rate for my home loan?

You can negotiate with your bank to get a better base rate. To do this, shop around with multiple lenders, ask your lender to match lower interest rate offers, negotiate with discount points and strengthen your mortgage application.

Can banks charge interest rates higher than the base rate?

Yes, banks can charge interest rates higher than the base rate. The base rate is the minimum interest rate banks ask for, but they can charge higher rates based on the borrower's creditworthiness.

Chitra is a stellar writer with over three years of experience writing about banking, financial services and insurance. She enjoys delving deeply into all the nitty-gritty of finance and associated topics that most people would rather avoid. With a master's in Computer Science, Chitra alchemises her analytical and creative prowess to manifest some of the most astounding articles for Urban Money.

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