Important Topic: Marginal Cost of Funds-Based Lending Rate (MCLR)

Important Topics for Competitive Exams


Important Topic

The marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend, except in some cases allowed by the RBI. It is an internal benchmark or reference rate for the bank. MCLR actually describes the method by which the minimum interest rate for loans is determined by a bank on the basis of marginal cost or the additional or incremental cost of arranging one more rupee to the prospective borrower.

The MCLR methodology for fixing interest rates for advances was introduced by the Reserve Bank of India with effect from April 1, 2016. This new methodology replaces the base rate system introduced in July 2010. In other words, all rupee loans sanctioned and credit limits renewed w.e.f. April 1, 2016 would be priced with reference to the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) which will be the internal benchmark (means a reference rate determined internally by the bank) for such purposes. Existing loans and credit limits linked to the Base Rate (internal benchmark rate used to determine interest rates up till 31 March 2016) or Benchmark Prime Lending Rate (BPLR or the internal benchmark rate used to determine the interest rates on advances/loans sanctioned upto June 30, 2010.) would continue till repayment or renewal, as the case may be. However, existing borrowers will have the option to move to the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) linked loan at mutually acceptable terms.

Reasons for introducing MCLR RBI decided to shift from base rate to MCLR because the rates based on marginal cost of funds are more sensitive to changes in the policy rates. This is very essential for the effective implementation of monetary policy. Prior to MCLR system, different banks were following different methodology for calculation of base rate /minimum rate – that is either on the basis of average cost of funds or marginal cost of funds or blended cost of funds.

Thus, MCLR aims:

  • To improve the transmission of policy rates into the lending rates of banks.
  • To bring transparency in the methodology followed by banks for determining interest rates on advances.
  • To ensure availability of bank credit at interest rates which are fair to borrowers as well as banks.
  • To enable banks to become more competitive and enhance their long run value and contribution to economic growth.


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