The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has suggested to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that the proposed norms on prudential regulatory framework of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) could have a negative impact on overall profitability of NBFCs due to higher provisioning requirements for standard assets and revision in non-performing assets (NPA) norms.

“New NBFCs are likely to be more adversely affected due to the need for additional capital. If the required capital could not be raised with reasonable cost, they may be forced to restrict the scale of operations or shrink their business, and this may pave way for some consolidation too,” said Assocham in its suggestions to the RBI on its draft guidelines based on the Usha Thorat Committee recommendations on the issues and concerns in the NBFC sector.

The RBI panel had proposed that the asset classification and provisioning norms (including standard assets provisioning norms) should be implemented in a phased manner, and made similar to banks for all registered NBFCs.

As a liquidity coverage requirement, the industry organisation suggested the RBI to treat bank deposits with maturity period beyond 30 days, where pre-mature refunds are allowed without any penalty, as good as bank balances for all practical purposes.

Provisioning on standard assets

Further, the panel has proposed to raise the provisioning on standard assets from 0.25 percentage points to 0.40 percentage points of the outstanding amount with effect from March 31, 2014, for all NBFCs. The chamber has also suggested to the RBI that the time limit of three years may be considered instead of implementing it from March 31, 2014.

“This is important in the case of factoring companies which have just been governed by the Factoring Bill passed by Parliament.”

The operational cycle for most of the infrastructure projects is more than three months, and considering the difficulties related to implementation, operational and other issues raised by IFCs, three months’ period for the declaration of NPA may be inadequate.

“So far as infrastructure companies are concerned, the period should be kept as 180 days,” Assocham added.

Further, it said that NBFCs do not enjoy the same benefits as provided to banks under the Income-tax Act. Therefore, it was suggested by the industry that given the objective to bring parity with banks, NBFCs should be provided the same benefits under SARFAESI (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest) Act and Income-tax Act and benefits under Debt Recovery Tribunals.

“Income tax benefits should also be brought on a par with banks for NBFCs. Banks get benefits on their entire provisioning while NBFCs get that benefit on written-off books only. NBFCs are to be considered on a par with banks and financial institutions for availing of refinance and take-out finance from IIFCL to ensure level-playing field,” the chamber added.

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