Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to review stress in bank loans on September 3

Business & Economics

The review will focus on enabling businesses and households to avail of the revival framework on the basis of viability, finance ministry said.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will meet top executives of banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) on September 3 to review the implementation of the resolution framework for stress in bank loans, caused by the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting comes ahead of the expected announcement of the KV Kamath-led panel’s recommendations on eligibility parameters for the restructuring of loans to soften the blow to both borrowers and the lenders in the wake of the pandemic.

“The review will focus on enabling businesses and households to avail of the revival framework on the basis of viability, necessary steps like finalising bank policies and identifying borrowers, and discussing issues that require addressing for smooth and speedy implementation,” the finance ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank of India extended a special window for lenders to recast stressed retail and corporate loans without classifying them as non-performing, provided that they set aside 10% provisions on such advances. RBI governor Shaktikanta Das has said a resolution framework for covid-19-related stressed accounts will be finalised by September 6.

Already, banks have started internal processes to gauge the extent of the likely loan restructuring exercise. For instance, Punjab National Bank (PNB) saw about 5-6% of its loan book, or between Rs 36,000 crore and Rs 43,000 crore, getting recast in FY21, its managing director S S Mallikarjuna Rao said last week. Of course, a clearer picture will emerge after the Kamath panel prescribes the contours of the recast scheme, Rao added. The current repayment moratorium will expire on Monday after six months.

In its Financial Stability Report, the RBI has forecast that gross non-performing assets (NPAs) may jump from 8.5% at the end of March 2020 to 12.5%, a 20-year peak, by March 2021. However, the NPA level may shoot to 14.7% by March 2021 in case of a severity of economic stress.

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