Millennium Post

Don’t outsource loan processing tasks: RBI warns bankers

Concerned over the rising number of loan default cases, the Reserve Bank on Monday warned lenders against outsourcing their credit processing activities to third-party entities.

“We encourage the banks that whatever is the non-core activity it should be outsourced. Let me tell you credit processing is not a non-core activity. I would say it is most core activity of a banker,” RBI Deputy Governor S S Mundra said here at an Assocham event.

“If credit processing is also outsourced then I think it will lead to a kind of situation what we are witnessing now,” he said, hinting at the mounting bad loans in the banking system.

As per the data made available by the RBI, the gross NPAs (non-performing assets) of the PSU banks stood at Rs 2,60,531 crore, as on December 2014.

The total number of defaulting borrowers, having Rs 10 crore and above at the end of September 2014, stood at 2,897 with outstanding amount of Rs 1.60 lakh crore. Talking about imprudent and non-cooperative borrowers, willful defaulters, Mundra said, “It is important that the errant borrowers are quickly brought to book and recovery proceedings be completed as early as possible.”

A non-performing account of whatever origin and pedigree is a drag on the banking system and increases the cost of intermediation, which pinches an honest borrower the most, he said. It is important for the system to weed out the unethical elements at the earliest opportunity to ensure the credibility and the efficiency of the credit system in the country, he said.

“Several attempts are already underway, one of which is the establishment of a central fraud registry, which will enable quick sharing of information on entities found to be defrauding banks,” Mundra added. The RBI and IBA (Indian Banking Association) together have also taken upon themselves the circulation of “caution advices” relating to all types of frauds, including those pertaining to loans and advances, he said.

And added, efforts also need to be made to alienate the willful defaulters and fraudsters and debar them from accessing the banking system for further finance.

Cautioning banks against a herd mentality in rushing to fund specific sectors, Mundra asked them to assess credit risks before giving loans to sunrise sectors.

“I have seen herd mentality in banks, (to fund) some so-called sunrise sectors, where everyone rushes to finance that sector,” he said.

On unseasonal rains and hailstorm in Northern India, Mundra said it is difficult to gauge its impact on inflation and no straight formula can be used to ascertain this.

... Strategic Debt Restructuring norms soon for bad loans

To help banks recover their bad loans, RBI will soon herald a Strategic Debt Restructuring regime to help banks take control of distressed listed firms, after market regulator Sebi relaxed its norms for such cases.

Sebi has agreed to ease its norms for lenders to convert their debt into equity in distressed listed companies, following which banks may not need to make the mandatory open offer in case of acquiring control in such entities. Besides, banks would not be subject to strict norms for computation of pricing formula for acquisition of shares and for lock-in provisions of such stake.
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