RBI puts Dena Bank under Prompt Corrective Action

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has initiated prompt corrective action against public sector lender Dena Bank in view of high non-performing loans, restricting the bank from giving fresh credit and new hiring.

The public sector lender yesterday reported widening of its net loss to Rs.1,225.42 crore in the March quarter on mounting bad loans and higher provisioning to cover them. The net loss stood at Rs.575.26 crore in the January-March quarter of 2016-17.

Sequentially, the loss widened from Rs.380.07 crore in December quarter of 2017-18.

PCA norms allow the regulator to place certain restrictions such as halting branch expansion and stopping dividend payment. It can even cap a bank’s lending limit to one entity or sector. Other corrective actions that can be imposed on banks include special audit, restructuring operations and activation of the recovery plan. Banks’ promoters can be asked to bring in new management, too. The RBI can also supersede the bank’s board, under PCA.

The PCA is invoked when certain risk thresholds are breached. There are three risk thresholds which are based on certain levels of asset quality, profitability, capital and the like. The third such threshold, which is maximum tolerance limit, sets net NPA at over 12% and negative return on assets for four consecutive years.

There is two type of restrictions, mandatory and discretionary. Restrictions on the dividend, branch expansion, directors compensation, are mandatory while discretionary restrictions could include curbs on lending and deposit. In the cases of two banks where PCA was invoked after the revised guidelines were issued — IDBI Bank and UCO Bank — only mandatory restrictions were imposed. Both the banks breached risk threshold 2.

Banks are not allowed to renew or access costly deposits or take steps to increase their fee-based income. Banks will also have to launch a special drive to reduce the stock of NPAs and contain generation of fresh NPAs. They will also not be allowed to enter into new lines of business. RBI will also impose restrictions on the bank on borrowings from the interbank market.

Small and medium enterprises will have to bear the brunt due to this move by RBI. Since the PCA framework restricts the amount of loans banks can extend, this will definitely put pressure on credit being made available to companies especially the MSMEs. Large companies have access to the corporate bond market so they may not be impacted immediately. It has been predicted that if more state-owned banks are brought under PCA, it will impact the credit availability for the MSME segment.

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