Ready to be more flexible in loan recast to spur growth: RBI
Anand (Gujarat): The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Raghuram Rajan, has said that the Central bank is ready to give banks more flexibility in restructuring of stressed loans if it facilitates recovery of stalled projects.
"The RBI is exploring ways to allow banks more flexibility in (loan) restructuring. This is a risk we are prepared to take if it allows more projects to be set on the track to recovery," he said.
The RBI is ready to give the flexibility as it recognises the fact that it cannot micromanage distressed loans, he said.
The Governor was delivering the third Dr Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture here.
"The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) opposes forbearance which simply pushes problems into the future, while it will allow more flexibility so that problem loans can be dealt with effectively today," he said.
He said the banks have been asking the RBI for greater flexibility to restructure bad loans so as to align them with the cash flow of projects, and for the ability to take equity so as to get some upside in distressed projects.
An estimated Rs 20 trillion worth of projects are stuck at various stages for want of land, or environmental clearances or other regulatory or public approvals.
As of April-June this fiscal, bad loans, including those recast ones, have crossed 10.4 percent of the total assets.
The RBI as part of its NPA management measures had tightened the loan recast norms, forcing banks to make higher provisions that hit their bottom lines.
From over 9 per cent growth in the pre-2010-2011 period, the economy had slumped to sub-5 per cent growth in the past two fiscals.
Rajan said the demand by the banks was legitimate as they imply a desire to deal more effectively with distress.
Rajan said the regulator has been reluctant to allow lenders this flexibility in the past because it has been misused by many bank management.
The Governor said a large number of industries were getting together with banks to clamour for regulatory forbearance, as they want the RBI to be 'realistic'.