Shell-shocked by the multi-crore loan fraud involving diamond merchant Nirav Modi, the Punjab National Bank (PNB) has now turned its attention to recovering loans and take steps to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future. According to The Indian Express, the public sector bank (PSB) has set up 6,900 loan recovery cells and engaged as many as 25,000 employees to recover bad loans. Apart from this, the nationalized bank has also created a Stressed Asset vertical at its central headquarters, with four general managers (GMs) tasked with fast-tracking the recovery of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs).
“The bank has trained its energies on recoveries and is set to meet the target set for the quarter ended June 2018. In order to strengthen the recovery process, a recovery cell has been set up in each of the over 6,900 branches of the bank and employees within the branches who were earlier involved with other functions have been deployed in the recovery cell,” sources quoted as saying by IE. “About 3000 personnel from various operations have been moved to the stressed asset vertical, whose sole job is to focus on recoveries,” sources added.
Recovery so far: As of now, the bank has managed to recover Rs 7,000 crore worth of bad debt in the first quarter of the financial year 2018-19 against a target of Rs 8,000 crore. Notably, there are still a few days left in the ongoing quarter. The bank has recovered Rs 5,617 crore in the whole of the financial year 2017-18. The recovery process was bolstered by resolution of Bhushan Steel and Electrosteel under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code from which the bank received nearly Rs 3,500 crore, and the remaining amount was mostly recovered from smaller accounts, sources said.
More powers to branches: As part of its measures, the bank has also entrusted its branches with additional powers to resolve recovery cases. “Each branch has been given powers to decide on one-time settlement (OTS) of cases up to Rs 25 crore. This is helping decentralise and speed up recovery. Every branch has a recovery vertical to intensify recovery efforts,” as per the IE report. It has been learned that deputy general managers (DGMs) will supervise the recovery of accounts above Rs 5 crore and up to Rs 25 crore and GMs will look after the matter pertaining to accounts with above Rs 25 crore, the IE report said.
PNB fact sheet: Last month, PNB posted a net loss of Rs 13,416.91 crore for the January-March quarter. This is said to be the biggest ever by any domestic lender, as provisions against expected loan losses tripled along with an across-the-board deterioration in performance. PNB’s Gross NPAs ratio jumped to 18.38 per cent of gross advances at the end of March 2018, up from 12.53 per cent a year ago. Its net NPAs also soared to 11.24 per cent.