Bad loans: SBI writes off Rs 10,000 cr; total by 19 PSU banks at Rs 41,000 cr

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Updated: February 20, 2019 7:26:59 AM

Vijaya Bank saw the steepest increase in write-offs — 243 times y-o-y to Rs 487 crore in Q3FY19. This was followed by IDBI Bank, which saw a 4,783% y-o-y rise in write-offs to Rs 562 crore in Q3FY19.

Bad loans: 19 PSBs write off nearly Rs 41,000 crore in Q3Bad loans: 19 PSBs write off nearly Rs 41,000 crore in Q3

Loans written off by a clutch of 19 large and mid-sized public-sector banks (PSBs) in the December quarter of FY19 rose 34% year-on-year (y-o-y) to nearly Rs 41,000 crore, contributing to a reduction in their non-performing assets (NPAs). These banks had written off loans worth only `33,259 crore in Q2FY19, up 24% y-o-y, indicating a gathering of pace in the write-off exercise.

Vijaya Bank saw the steepest increase in write-offs — 243 times y-o-y to Rs 487 crore in Q3FY19. This was followed by IDBI Bank, which saw a 4,783% y-o-y rise in write-offs to Rs 562 crore in Q3FY19.

According to sources, State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest bank, wrote off loans worth around `10,000 crore during Q3FY19, up 7% from `9,312 crore a year ago.

But it was lower than `13,537 crore SBI wrote off in Q2FY19.

Punjab National Bank (PNB), Corporation Bank, UCO Bank, Allahabad Bank and Andhra Bank were the only five lenders among the 19 that recorded a y-o-y drop in write-offs for the December quarter.

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PNB’s write-offs stood at `3,082 crore during Q3FY19, lower 50% y-o-y, while Corporation Bank’s write-offs declined 28% y-o-y to `2,843 crore. Allahabad Bank wrote off loans worth `712 crore and Andhra Bank worth `55 crore, down 13% y-o-y and 78% y-o-y, respectively. UCO Bank’s write-offs fell 61% y-o-y to `622 crore.

According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines and policy approved by banks’ boards, NPAs, including those in respect of which full provisioning has been made on completion of four years, are removed from the balance sheets of banks by way of write-offs. Write-offs are part of a regular exercise by banks to clean up their balance sheets and avail tax benefits. Borrowers of written-off loans continue to be liable for repayment and banks keep up efforts to recover them. If recoveries are made from written-off accounts, they get reflected in banks’ non-interest income.

In FY18, write-offs made by 21 PSBs had risen 57% y-o-y and crossed the `1-lakh-crore mark. While it is possible banks may recover some of this money, the write-offs may be sizeable in the current year too.

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