The State Duma Council plans to consider a bill on housing savings

The State Duma Council plans to consider a bill on housing savings

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This week the State Duma is due to consider a bill creating a new financial product in the Russian Federation – a deposit intended for the down payment on a mortgage. It must be subject to extended insurance coverage. The document was approved by the government, but it raised questions from the legal department and the financial committee of the State Duma. Market participants, on the one hand, see a niche for a new product, and on the other, they clarify that similar mechanisms already actually exist.

On April 1, the State Duma Council plans to consider the bill on housing savings for the first reading. The document assumes that a depositor who has deposited money with the bank for a long term will be able, upon completion, to use the funds as a down payment on a mortgage loan, which the bank undertakes to provide (see “Kommersant” dated October 18, 2023). According to the bill, the deposit period must be at least a year, and the funds will be insured for up to 10 million rubles. But, if in the end the money is not used to purchase a home, the interest on the deposit will be recalculated at the “on demand” rate.

The government supported the bill. However, the conclusion of the State Duma legal department states that the housing savings agreement does not apply to a mixed agreement containing elements of a bank deposit agreement and a preliminary loan agreement for improving housing conditions, since not all essential terms of the loan agreement are included in the savings agreement. As a result, for the new mechanism to work, changes will have to be made to the Civil Code of the Russian Federation.

The State Duma Finance Committee also found provisions in the document that required improvement. Thus, deputies note that refusal to send deposit funds immediately after the end of its term for the purchase of housing may be caused by objective reasons. Therefore, the committee believes that the issue of determining the rate reduction “requires additional justification.” Also, according to deputies, difficulties may be caused by the bank’s control over the targeted use of housing savings to determine the amount of interest due for payment. The committee considers it necessary to further discuss “the actual mechanism of such control for banks,” its conclusion says. However, the Finance Committee recommends passing the bill in the first reading.

The acting head of the Association of Russian Banks, Alexey Voylukov, said that a similar experiment was carried out in the Krasnodar Territory and Bashkiria and “was relatively successful.”

“It was interesting to citizens because the bank gave an increased interest rate on a five-year deposit, and local authorities compensated the client for part of the mortgage rate. The bank, in addition to long-term liabilities, received a good idea of ​​the client’s solvency, since the deposit was replenished and the future borrower sent part of his salary to it every month,” explained Mr. Voylukov. In his opinion, the attractiveness of the scheme for banks is that the borrower will be able to pay a large down payment. Alexey Voylukov believes that “the product will not really be massive, but it will occupy its niche.”

According to the head of the National Financial Market Council (NCFM), Andrei Emelin, the original idea was for the bank to pay clients an increased interest rate on their deposits in order to save for a down payment on a mortgage and receive a loan at a more favorable rate. However, such a combination of deposit and loan, he emphasizes, “has obvious problems”: there cannot be a pre-established obligation for a bank to issue a loan even to its own depositor, since such a decision is made immediately before providing funds and taking into account a large number of changing factors.

“The most interesting thing is that without any special law, this mechanism already exists on the market and works – the bank offers a reduced mortgage rate if the client keeps funds on deposit with him for some time,” emphasizes the head of the NSFR. Only in this case, he clarifies, “banks determine all conditions based on their objective economics.”

Maxim Builov

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