Saturday, November 16, 2013

farmers loan suicides \/s Rs 1 lakh crore bad loans of corporates written off

Rs 1 lakh crore bad loans of corporates written off: RBI


Banks have sacrificed over Rs 1 lakh crore by writing off bad loans to corporates, data collected by RBI reveals.
MUMBAI: Data collected by Reserve Bank of India over a period of one year blows the lid off what goes as loan classification in banks. In a presentation at the annual bankers' conference, RBI deputy governor K C Chakrabarty showed how banks have sacrificed over Rs 1 lakh crore by writing off bad loans to corporates, which is much higher than Union finance minister P Chidambaram's farm loan waiver in 2008—a move that received flak from the industry.

Under the Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008, the Centre had waived off around Rs 60,000 crore to farmers.

"In the last 13 years, banks have written off 1 lakh crore and 95% of these are large loans. Everyone talks of the farm loan write-off, but it is the medium and large enterprises segment that has a 50% share in NPAs," said Chakrabarty.

The deputy governor flayed banks for using 'technical write-offs' to reduce their non-performing assets (bad loans) over the years. Technical write-off is a process adopted by banks whereby they take a hit on their profits and stop including the defaulting loan in the list of those from whom repayments are due. It is called a technical write-off because although banks do not show these loans as receivables in their books, they continue to pursue recovery in courts or other forum.

A technical write-off enables banks to claim that they do not have any bad loans on their books by fully providing for the loans from their earnings. It also reduces their tax outgo.

Chakrabarty also raised the issue of restructured loans—advances where potential defaulters are given more time to repay without being called defaulters. "Restructuring of loans with retrospective effect has killed credit quality in banks," he said. He warned banks that the leeway might not be available in future.

"We must move away from restructuring, there should not be any category called restructuring. The moment it is restructured, it should be declared as NPA, there should not be any technical write-off... be prepared for that, unless you do that you might not be able to get out of the mess," he said.

RBI numbers showed that the banks added Rs 4,94,836 crore to their bad loans between 2007 and 2013. During the same period, they reduced NPAs to the extent of Rs 3,50,332 crore. This was possible because loans worth Rs 1,41,295 crore were written off and another Rs 90,887 crore were upgraded to repaying loans and Rs 1,18,149 crore was recovered from defaulters. According to Chakrabarty, after a technical write-off, there is no incentive to pursue recovery.

The deputy governor said that in the case of large loans, there is no one who is accountable for monitoring the loan, as these are sanctioned by the board or a committee. "Between 2007-13, credit to 10 large corporate groups has more than doubled. We have seen that wherever credit growth has been higher, NPAs are also higher."

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