Monday, June 22, 2009

Rate of Interest

Something which got me thinking is the concept of rate of interest. Once I started thinking more and more about it, what kept intriguing me and finally became a lot clearer is the fact that majority of the things, if not all, has interest attached to it. Especially, where there is a decision to be taken, interest rates play an even more important role. And on the contrary, the higher the interest rate, the better!

When you reach an impressionable age, you believe you are ready and can impress anyone you want to; you want to date on every date of the month in the calendar. You curse, that February has fewer days than other months, and you lost one day without a date. Anyhow, most of the time when you are dating, interest levels oscillate between simple attraction to even simpler things as lust. The girl has a cute smile, which means her lips are awesome. She has a distinctive style, simply meaning she has one of the greatest pair of jugs around. Am sure girls also lust for macho bearded kisses and cute butts. (I possessed both, by the way, at one point in time!!)

One of the biggest decisions in life is who to get married to? Both parties should be interested in each other, there has to be an increasing rate of that interest which finally should reach a point of no return where the interest goes beyond the principal….

Once married, the next biggest decision is buying a house. Now here is what actually got me interested in the title concept. Dodging all the tempting items of deciding on the dream home (flat versus duplex, 2BR or 3BR, balcony with sliding doors, French windows in the bedroom et all…) I will come straight the point of no return. Once we decided on the house, we needed money. We had saved up some money, we needed the rest as loan. There was a handsome amount to be loaned from a bank. We did the basic research and most certainly, nationalized banks offered fairly lower interest rates on home loans as compared to private banks. So, we decided to go for ourselves and submit an application for home loan in such banks.

Scene 1: A Bank, walking distance from our existing rented hide out. The branch opens at 1000 hours. We walk in exactly at 1000 hours of a bright Friday morning. Fortunately, the bank guy I enquired about who looks after home loans, was he himself! What a lucky start, I thought. However, he interrupted my thought before I could smile stating his system had developed some technical snag and would take sometime rectifying. I didn’t mind as it was a good beginning. As my wife and I waited, the security guard walked upto us and started enquiring about our purpose of the visit. Once we finished, he responded in a friendly but alert tone, that just yesterday a young couple had walked in another branch of theirs and looted the bank empty and injuring people too. I was impressed. The bank employee starts working on time, the security guard is alert. Man, all government run, aided or controlled institutions are improving, was confirmed. After a while, he called me. I seated myself infront of him and opened the conversation. “Sir, I need home loan”. He smiled and asked me my demographic details. Once I was finished, he started. He started and never seem to finish. He criticized our decision of having salary accounts in different banks and coming to a different bank for loan. He blasted us on not having a savings’ account in A Bank. He did not like it that we did not have a guarantor. He was very unhappy that we visited him!! Fortunately, his phone rang and he spent a good 15 minutes talking to the guy on the other side of the phone negotiating his car purchase and the freebies the guy could offer. We got a breather. He cut the phone and wanted to start all over again. We said thank you. In all this, we totally forgot to ask him the current rate of interest on the loan! His rate of interest in us was minimal, anyways.

Scene 2: A little pissed, we thought, never mind. This is just one of the banks. The others would be certainly better. So, we walked into Bank of I. The guy was really courteous and almost apologetically directed us that home loans are disbursed only from their Main Branch. We said to ourselves, see, they all are not the same. There are good people on earth who are interested in your interest. But they are not eligible!!

Scene 3: The moment we walked into P en Bank, we got the air that this is one bank which has really benchmarked itself to the private banks. They had the latest request slip machines, numerous ATMs, numerous tellers, smartly dressed security guards and smiling employees greeting their customers. While walking down to the basement where the home loan section was, we started getting a good feeling. An aged but smart lady greeted us. After the initial mutual enquiries, the lady showed some real interest in us. She said, “Where are you taking this property? We said Expressway. She quickly responded, “Fine, but I will have to confirm if these builders are in the approved list in our Bank. We were about to relax when she went on, “Since it’s on the expressway, why don’t you look for a branch near by”? When we said, it’s an expressway, there are no banks on the high way, she retorted, “Ok, so what is your permanent address”? On knowing that, she insisted we request for a loan from that neighborhood instead! It was confirmed, her rate of interest in our query was at the lowest. So, we did not bother her asking the home loan rate of interest also.

We knew, rate of interest depends on many things; kind of loan – auto, personal or home, principal amount, tenure etc. But the real interest has to go much beyond. Be it, home or personal loan, people have to be genuinely interested – professionally in their job and personally in your concern. Atleast, professionally and try and look at the benefit of the organisation, be a good ambassador to its brand.

We finally ended up calling the same bank guy whom we were avoiding, as he was selling loan at a higher interest rate but then he was high on interest levels too. No running around for us, he came home, collected all documents required and assured us of no further hassles. His words were - Our pain is his pain, henceforth…. Ofcourse, he was lying. Ofcourse, the interest that we will pay will be much higher than the pain that he will go through for us.

But for a moment, you would not mind paying that little extra for his interest and the rate at which he made those comments.