Mindful of the impact of frauds on banks’ financials, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon set up a Central Fraud Registry as part of an early warning system.
The idea is to set up a structure for quick sharing of information about unscrupulous borrowers and help banks fight bad loans.
“It will come up soon. Work is under way to set up the Central Fraud Registry,” a top RBI official told PTI.
The Registry will work under the supervision of the RBI, the official added.
Currently, there is no single database that lenders can access for all relevant details of previously reported frauds.
The structure, which is in the works, will make available more information to banks at the time of starting a banking relationship, extension of credit facilities or at any time during operation of an account.
For instance, at the time of sanctioning of a loan, banks can make use of the registry by checking the credentials of a borrower.
For good measure, the CBI and the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) have shown interest in sharing their databases with banks which in turn can be fed into this centralised searchable database that can be accessed by banks.
According to RBI data, gross NPAs (non-performing assets) of PSU banks stood at Rs 2,60,531 crore as of December 2014. And the top 30 defaulters are sitting on bad loans amounting to a huge Rs 95,122 crore, which is more than one-third of the entire NPAs of public sector banks.
The total number of borrowers having defaulted on Rs 10 crore and above at the end of September 2014 read 2,897, with an outstanding of Rs 1.60 lakh crore.
The RBI has issued necessary instructions, including those on creating a framework for revitalising distress assets, to improve asset quality of banks and prevent slippages.
The law stipulates that each bank should have a board-approved loan recovery policy. It has also been mandated that NPA accounts of Rs 1 crore and above need to be vetted by the board.