Banks cut off funds to Mumbai builders

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Mumbai: Money has suddenly stopped flowing  into Mumbai’s real estate sector with banks and financial institutions tightening the screws on builders. In the past two months, cash-strapped developers have flocked to private money lenders, who provide short-term loans at exorbitant interest rates of between 24 percent and 30 percent a year. Banks charge builders between 13 percent and 15 percent interest a year.

Market sources said leading banks now lend to only credible builders for select projects, but have turned off the tap for most others in the construction sector. “They are busy mopping up what is due to them. By March 2011, Mumbai builders alone are scheduled to return roughly Rs 6,000 crore to banks,” said the CEO of a leading property fund. Market sources said some leading developers in Mumbai have loan exposures of Rs 3,000-4,000 crore each.

Mumbai-based developer Wadhwa Group’s Vijay Wadhwa said banks have stopped disbursement to second-rung builders.

“Banks are flush with funds, but they want to give it to the right people. They are now more concerned about whom they give it to,’’ he said. Wadhwa added that financial institutions became cautious following the LIC Housing scam.

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