The year has been quite tough for the private sector banking industry which is seeing exit of three high-profile bankers, Chanda Kochhar, Shikha Sharma and Rana Kapoor, before the end of their scheduled term. While Kochhar Thursday resigned from the post of MD and CEO of ICICI Bank with immediate effect, Sharma is leaving Axis Bank in December.
Another high profile banker and founding CEO of Yes Bank Rana Kapoor has been asked by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to quit the post by January 2019.
Kochhar, who is facing allegations of nepotism and conflict of interest, quit the bank six months before her current tenure was to end. She also resigned from all subsidiaries of the bank including ICICI Securities where she had sought reappointment as the chairperson. There are allegations of involvement of Kochhar and her family members in a loan provided to Videocon group on a quid pro quo basis.
Another ICICI Bank prodigy, Shikha Sharma had decided to quit the bank by the end of this year. Although she got the approval of the board for a three-year term with effect from June 1, 2018, the proposal did not find favour with the RBI. Her stint was mired in divergence of bad loans.
The private sector lender’s NPAs jumped by over five-fold in recent financial years. The gross NPAs worth Rs 4,110 crore at the end of March 2015 surged to Rs 21,280 crore at the end of March 2017. During the same period, the lender’s net profit halved from Rs 7,357.8 crore to Rs 3,679.2 crore.
The RBI also cut short the tenure of Kapoor and asked the private sector lender to look for his replacement by January 2019.
Kapoor, who has been managing director and CEO since the bank’s inception in 2004, had sought a three-year extension till August 31, 2021. However, the sector regulator did not agree to the request and permitted him to continue only till January 2019.
The banking sector has seen increased regulatory scrutiny over the last two years as the RBI has tried to push for appropriate recognition of bad loans.
The asset quality review initiated in December 2015 has led to banks recognising an additional Rs 6 lakh crore as bad loans.
Banks were asked to disclose ‘divergences’ in bad loan reporting. As a result, the RBI judged gross NPAs at Rs 8,373.8 crore for Yes Bank for 2016-17 against the declared gross NPAs at Rs 2,018 crore. Thus, there was a divergence of Rs 6,355 crore or three times the reported amount.