After investigations, Rs 49.5 crore of fines were imposed on 22 banks, including SBI, PNB and Yes Bank, for violating KYC or anti-money laundering norms. Cautionary letters were issued to seven, including Citibank and Stanchart.
During the year, banks, especially public sector lenders, continued to grapple with rising non-performing assets (NPAs), which were flagged by the government and the RBI to bank heads on several occasions.
In September, the gross NPAs of all banks crossed 4 per cent of total advances. They had risen to Rs 2.37 lakh crore from Rs 1.83 lakh crore in March 2013.
Public sector banks alone had gross NPAs of Rs 2.03 lakh crore at the end of September. The SBI group had accumulated gross bad loans of Rs 76,162 crore.
The top 30 bad loan accounts of public sector banks accounted for more than one-third of their gross NPAs.
"The ratio of top 30 NPAs as a percentage of gross NPAs, in respect of public sector banks, as on September 2013 is 35.5 per cent and for all banks it is 38.8 per cent," Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said.
The gross NPA amount of the top 30 accounts of public sector banks stood at Rs 72,174 crore, while for all banks it was Rs 91,667 crore at the end of September.
In the case of nationalised banks, the top 30 bad loans contributed 43.8 per cent to gross NPAs with Rs 55,663 crore.
Blaming state-run lenders for the high level of NPAs, Chidambaram had said bank boards, and not the government, should be held responsible for the situation.
"If the bank boards cannot perform their duty, blame should stop with the bank boards and not with the government," he had said.
To curb NPAs, the government advised banks to take a slew of new initiatives, including appointment of nodal officers for recovery, special drives for recovery of loss assets and setting up of a board-level committee to monitor recovery.
Besides, the RBI has proposed measures to provide lenders incentives for early identification of problem cases, timely restructuring of accounts that are considered viable and taking prompt steps for recovery or sale of unviable accounts.