Know Difference Between Bank Rate and Repo Rate

Ever wondered how the central bank influences the economy? Two key interest rates play a crucial role: the bank rate and the repo rate. This article will unpack what each rate means, how they impact banks and the economy, and the key difference between bank rate and repo rate. By the end, you’ll gain insights into how these rates influence the flow of money and economic activity.

What is Bank Rate?

The bank rate, also known as the discount rate, is the interest rate at which commercial banks and lending institutions borrow money from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank of India.

Impact of Bank Rate

The RBI uses the bank rate to manage inflation. When inflation goes up, the RBI increases the bank rate to make it less attractive for banks to borrow money from them. This helps reduce the amount of money circulating in the economy and helps control inflation.

Determining the Bank Rate

The current bank rate depends on the inflation rate in the country. The RBI sets the bank rate based on how much inflation is happening. If inflation is too high, the RBI might increase the bank rate to tackle it.

What is the Repo Rate?

‘Repo’ is short for Repurchasing Option. Sometimes, lenders find themselves short on funds, meaning they don’t have enough money to lend. In such cases, domestic banks and financial institutions can borrow money from the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India. They do this by pledging government-recognised securities like bonds, treasury bills, cash, or gold.

When a financial institution borrows money from the central bank at the Repo Rate, they agree to pledge certain securities, which they will repurchase within an agreed period. This is why when lenders borrow from the central bank by pledging government-approved securities, the interest rate charged by the central bank is called the Repo Rate.

Impact of Repo Rate

The Repo Rate in India influences the liquidity of the banking system. When the RBI wants to increase liquidity, it lowers the repo rate, encouraging banks to sell their securities. Conversely, if the RBI wants to reduce liquidity, it discourages banks from borrowing by raising the repo rate.

How to Determine Repo Rate?

In addition to considering the inflation rate, the central bank adjusts the repo rate in response to various factors such as economic growth.

Bank Rate vs Repo Rate

Aspect Bank Rate Repo Rate
Definition The interest rate at which the central bank extends funds to commercial banks for longer durations. The rate at which the central bank lends funds to commercial banks for short durations, often overnight.
Term Bank Rate typically covers loans lasting from a few months to several years. Repo Rate primarily covers very short-term loans, usually overnight but can extend to a few days.
Monetary Policy Tool Bank Rate is used to regulate the broader money supply in the economy. Repo Rate primarily influences short-term liquidity conditions and manages the money market rate.
Influence on Banks Changes in Bank Rate indirectly and gradually impact bank lending and deposit rates. Banks typically borrow from the central bank at Repo Rate to address short-term liquidity needs and maintain required reserves.
Duration of Loans Loans acquired at Bank Rate have longer durations, suitable for extended financing needs. Loans acquired at Repo Rate have very short durations, suitable for immediate liquidity shortfalls.
Role in Inflation Control Bank Rate indirectly influences inflation by affecting long-term interest rates and economic activity. Repo Rate has a more immediate impact on short-term interest rates and can directly influence inflation expectations.
Liquidity Management Bank Rate is not primarily aimed at managing day-to-day liquidity in the banking system. Repo Rate plays a central role in managing short-term liquidity in the banking system and maintaining the desired level of liquidity.
Frequency of Review Changes in Bank Rate may occur less frequently and are often part of broader monetary policy reviews. Repo Rate is typically reviewed more frequently to adapt to short-term economic conditions.
Impact on Bond Market Bank Rate adjustments can affect long- term bond yields and the bond market but usually with a delay. Repo Rate changes typically have an immediate impact on short-term bond yields and money market instruments.

Key Difference Between Bank Rate and Repo Rate

1. Definition

Bank Rate: This is the interest rate at which the central bank lends money to commercial banks, usually for longer periods.
Repo Rate: It refers to the rate at which the central bank lends money to commercial banks for short durations, often overnight.

2. Purpose

Bank Rate: Mainly used for making adjustments to long-term liquidity and influencing overall economic interest rates.
Repo Rate: Employed for managing short-term liquidity and controlling inflation by affecting short-term interest rates.

3. Duration

Bank Rate: Applicable to longer-term loans, typically spanning months or years.
Repo Rate: Relevant to short-term loans, usually overnight or for a few days.

4. Impact on Economy

Bank Rate: Exerts a broader impact on the economy by influencing long-term interest rates and credit availability.
Repo Rate: Primarily affects short-term interest rates and has immediate effects on money markets.

5. Use by Central Banks

Bank Rate: Signals the central bank’s monetary policy stance, particularly during periods of inflation or economic stability.
Repo Rate: Adjusted frequently to regulate short-term liquidity and manage inflation.

6. Borrower and Lender

Bank Rate: Commercial banks borrow from the central bank at the Bank Rate.
Repo Rate: Commercial banks borrow from the central bank at the Repo Rate, using government securities as collateral.

7. Typical Rate Difference

Bank Rate: Typically, higher than the Repo Rate due to the longer-term nature of the loans.
Repo Rate: Usually lower than the Bank Rate as it pertains to short-term rates.