Stressed assets: Banks ask RBI resolution guidelines

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Mumbai | April 02, 2018 5:30 AM

Banks have requested the RBI for some leniency in its February 12 circular on resolution of stressed assets and have sought — among other things — increasing the default period to 30 days from only a day right now.

rbi, reserve bank of india, banks, banking sector, central bankIn February, RBI had asked banks, either singly or jointly, to initiate a resolution plan as soon as a corporate default is spotted.

Banks have requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for some leniency in its February 12 circular on resolution of stressed assets and have sought — among other things — increasing the default period to 30 days from only a day right now. Under the new circular, as soon as a loan is classified as a special mention account — SMA 0 — banks must begin resolution proceedings.

SMA 0 loans are those where payments are overdue by 1-30 days.

In a letter sent to the central bank through the Indian Banks’ Association, lenders have said since RBI has allowed working capital default to be at 30 days, the term loans should also have a similar timeline.

They have also requested the central bank to change the requisite majority required to approve any resolution plan to 75% from 100% and once there is a change in the promoter of the firm, banks should be able to reverse the excess provisions.

In its February 12 circular, RBI had said all earlier schemes like the strategic debt restructuring (SDR), scheme for sustainable structuring of stressed assets (S4A) and the 5/25 have been subsumed under the new guidelines.

“Several large cases are currently being dealt with under different schemes like SDR, S4A, 5/25 and we have sough the continuation of the present standstill clauses under the old schemes or allowing all old schemes to continue till August 31,” a senior banker said.

In the letter, lenders have requested RBI to relook its decision to repeal circulars for flexible structuring of existing long term project loans to infrastructure and core industries, the joint lenders’ forum mechanism and the refinance of project loans.
“We have written that this new circular should be applicable to all entities regulated by RBI, including the asset reconstruction companies (ARCs),” the banker said.

In February, RBI had asked banks, either singly or jointly, to initiate a resolution plan as soon as a corporate default is spotted. In other words, banks have several options to revive the defaulting companies but these must be exercised within 180 days.

Going by the new framework for resolution of stressed accounts, the fate of a defaulting entity will be sealed within 465 days. If lenders are not able to work out a solution to revive a company within 180 days, the account must be referred to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the case would be decided under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

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