Economy

Centre seeks banks’ turnaround plans

In 2015, under the Indradhanush plan, the government had announced capital infusion of Rs. 70,000 crore in public sector banks for four years, starting from 2015-16. File Photo   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

 

The Finance Ministry has written to 10 public sector banks, including IDBI Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, United Bank of India, Andhra Bank and Indian Overseas Bank, making it clear that the lenders would only get further capital infusion once they submit a time-bound turnaround plan.

The Centre, which has mandated State Bank of India’s merchant banking arm SBI Caps to vet each bank’s plan, wrote to the state-owned lenders last week stipulating that they would each have to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government, agreeing to stick to the turnaround plan.

“The government wants 10 public sector banks to turn around in the next three years, and we are preparing the plan for that,” a public sector bank chief executive, who did not wish to be identified, told The Hindu.

The government’s move to crack the whip on lenders comes after some banks reported losses in financial year 2015-16 as well as for the nine-month period of the current financial year. Bad loans zoomed following the Reserve Bank of India’s asset quality review, which required banks to classify many accounts identified by the banking regulator as ‘bad’. The RBI said it wanted to clean up banks’ balance sheets by March 2017.

Centre seeks banks’ turnaround plans
 

In its financial stability report, RBI had said banks may remain risk averse in the near future as they clean up their balance sheets and their capital position may remain insufficient to support higher credit growth.

According to RBI data, gross non-performing assets of commercial banks increased to 9.1% of their gross advances as of September 2016, from 5.1% a year earlier. Public sector banks share a disproportionate burden of this stress.

In 2015, under the Indradhanush plan, the government had announced capital infusion of ₹70,000 crore in public sector banks for four years, starting from 2015-16. In the first two financial years, ₹25,000 crore had been earmarked per year with ₹10,000 crore to be disbursed in each of the remaining two years. Credit rating agencies had pointed out that the sum was insufficient as banks needed to meet Basel-III norms as well as make provisions for rising bad loans.

Last week, United Bank of India, Andhra Bank, IOB and Dena Bank informed the stock exchanges that they had received capital “as part of turnaround-linked infusion plan”.

Interestingly, for the first time, the employees’ unions have been made a party to the proposed agreement. The employees’ unions of these 10 banks met on Friday to decide the future course of action.

The other lenders included in the list are Allahabad Bank, Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Dena Bank and UCO Bank


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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 4:19:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/centre-seeks-banks-turnaround-plans/article17658860.ece

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