Bad Bank to solve Rs 2 lakh crore bad loans, take NPAs off banks’ books; here’s how it will work

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September 17, 2021 6:15 PM

If it works as intended, Bad Bank may help cut system-wide bank NPAs (non-performing assets) by over 1%, and help recover some of bad debts too.

The RBI back in 2018 had issued guidelines on co-origination of loans by banks and NBFCs to help former in priority sector lending enabled by NBFCs' reach.

The Bad Bank is finally here, after a decade of discourse. It aims to help clean up banks’ books by taking over Rs 2 lakh crore bad loans. If it works as intended, Bad Bank may help cut system-wide bank NPAs (non-performing assets) by over 1%, and help recover some of bad debts too, analysts say. The National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL), as it is officially named, will acquire banks’ bad debt to resolve or liquidate. It will buy these stressed assets for a mix of cash, and government-guaranteed security receipts.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced that the Union government will guarantee Rs 30,600 worth of security receipts issued by the National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL). “NARCL will acquire stressed assets through 15% cash payment to banks based on valuation and the rest 85% will be given as security receipts,” Nirmala Sitharaman said. The government-backed security receipts can only be invoked on resolution or liquidation.

What is NARCL? Why is it needed?

The National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL) was proposed by the Finance Minister in her Union Budget speech. NARCL, popularly known as Bad Bank, will function as an asset reconstruction company set up by banks to resolve stressed assets for smoother functioning. Public sector banks will have 51% ownership in NARCL. The bad bank intends to resolve stressed loan assets above Rs 500 crore each.

How the Bad Bank will work

Bad loan transfer: NARCL will take over bad loans worth Rs 2 lakh crore from banks, of which Rs 90,000 crore will be taken over in the first phase. The Ministry of Finance said that NARCL will acquire bad loans from banks for a mutually agreed-upon value (understandably, a net value after a haircut). NARCL will pay 15% of the agreed net value of the bad debt upfront in cash and the remaining 85% in form of security receipts. The banks would use this 15% cash upfront to reverse the debt write down. As for the security receipts for the remaining 85%, the bank would redeem those when the bad bank resolves or liquidates the bad debt; or, the bank may also trade these securities for cash.

Provision write-back: “These loans are fully provided in the books of the bank. The upfront cash received, 15% of the written-down value, would be reversed while the provisions for the balance (value of security receipts) are unlikely to be reversed even if it is fully provided,” analysts at Kotak Securities wrote in a note. “The larger release of provisions, if any, would be made as and when the cash is received on sale of these receipts or redemption of security receipts. The government guarantee on SRs can enable trading of these securities,” Kotak Securities added.

Government guarantee: The security receipts issued by NARCL are backed by the Union government guarantee. The government guarantee will cover any shortfall between the face value of the receipts and the actual realisation value of the bad loan.

Resolution is key

“How efficiently the professionals are resolving the stressed assets is to be monitored. One can argue that bad bank is likely to become a warehouse for stressed loans without expected recovery as it will be difficult to find buyers for legacy assets,” ICICI Securities said in a note. The Resolution of the proposed Rs 2 lakh crore of legacy stressed assets will lower GNPLs (gross non performing loans) by more than 2%, the note said. The estimated realisable value of 18% will lead to provisioning write-back of Rs 36,000 crore. “Through successful execution of phase-1, one can expect near term NPA reduction of >1% and NPA recoveries equivalent to 10bps of system credit,” ICICI Securities said.

Why is government guarantee needed?

The government said that resolution mechanisms of dealing with a backlog of NPAs typically require a backstop from the Government. “This imparts credibility and provides for contingency buffers. Hence, a Government Guarantee of up to Rs 30,600 crore will back Security Receipts (SRs) issued by NARCL. The guarantee will be valid for 5 years. The condition precedent for invocation of guarantee would be resolution or liquidation,” the finance ministry said.

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