Principles of Bank Lending

20/07/2020 1 By indiafreenotes

Banks follow the following principles of lending:

  1. Liquidity

Liquidity is an important principle of bank lending. Bank lend for short periods only because they lend public money which can be withdrawn at any time by depositors. They, therefore, advance loans on the security of such assets which are easily marketable and convertible into cash at a short notice.

A bank chooses such securities in its investment portfolio which possess sufficient liquidity. It is essential because if the bank needs cash to meet the urgent requirements of its customers, it should be in a position to sell some of the securities at a very short notice without disturbing their market prices much. There are certain securities such as central, state and local government bonds which are easily saleable without affecting their market prices.

The shares and debentures of large industrial concerns also fall in this category. But the shares and debentures of ordinary firms are not easily marketable without bringing down their market prices. So the banks should make investments in government securities and shares and debentures of reputed industrial houses.

  1. Safety

The safety of funds lent is another principle of lending. Safety means that the borrower should be able to repay the loan and interest in time at regular intervals without default. The repayment of the loan depends upon the nature of security, the character of the borrower, his capacity to repay and his financial standing.

Like other investments, bank investments involve risk. But the degree of risk varies with the type of security. Securities of the central government are safer than those of the state governments and local bodies. And the securities of state government and local bodies are safer than those of the industrial concerns. This is because the resources of the central government are much higher than the state and local governments and of the latter higher than the industrial concerns.

In fact, the share and debentures of industrial concerns are tied to their earnings which may fluctuate with the business activity in the country. The bank should also take into consideration the debt repaying ability of the governments while investing in their securities. Political stability and peace and security are the prerequisites for this.

It is very safe to invest in the securities of a government having large tax revenue and high borrowing capacity. The same is the case with the securities of a rich municipality or local body and state government of a prosperous region. So in making investments the bank should choose securities, shares and debentures of such governments, local bodies and industrial concerns which satisfy the principle of safety.

Thus from the bank’s viewpoint, the nature of security is the most important consideration while giving a loan. Even then, it has to take into consideration the creditworthiness of the borrower which is governed by his character, capacity to repay, and his financial standing. Above all, the safety of bank funds depends upon the technical feasibility and economic viability of the project for which the loan is advanced.

  1. Diversity

In choosing its investment portfolio, a commercial bank should follow the principle of diversity. It should not invest its surplus funds in a particular type of security but in different types of securities. It should choose the shares and debentures of different types of industries situated in different regions of the country. The same principle should be followed in the case of state governments and local bodies. Diversification aims at minimising risk of the investment portfolio of a bank.

The principle of diversity also applies to the advancing of loans to varied types of firms, industries, businesses and trades. A bank should follow the maxim: “Do not keep all eggs in one basket.” It should spread it risks by giving loans to various trades and industries in different parts of the country.

  1. Stability

Another important principle of a bank’s investment policy should be to invest in those stocks and securities which possess a high degree of stability in their prices. The bank cannot afford any loss on the value of its securities. It should, therefore, invest it funds in the shares of reputed companies where the possibility of decline in their prices is remote.

Government bonds and debentures of companies carry fixed rates of interest. Their value changes with changes in the market rate of interest. But the bank is forced to liquidate a portion of them to meet its requirements of cash in cash of financial crisis. Otherwise, they run to their full term of 10 years or more and changes in the market rate of interest do not affect them much. Thus bank investments in debentures and bonds are more stable than in the shares of companies.

  1. Profitability

This is the cardinal principle for making investment by a bank. It must earn sufficient profits. It should, therefore, invest in such securities which was sure a fair and stable return on the funds invested. The earning capacity of securities and shares depends upon the interest rate and the dividend rate and the tax benefits they carry.

It is largely the government securities of the centre, state and local bodies that largely carry the exemption of their interest from taxes. The bank should invest more in such securities rather than in the shares of new companies which also carry tax exemption. This is because shares of new companies are not safe investments.