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Andhra Bank, SBI, UBI among top PSU banks with over 70% NPA from industry in FY19

Finance ministry data shows Andhra Bank had highest share of industry bad debts at 86%. UBI and Indian Bank followed at 78% and 74%, respectively.

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New Delhi: The non-performing assets (NPAs) in the industry sector accounted for over 50 per cent of the total bad debts in 18 of the 20 state-run banks in 2018-19, indicating the massive concentration risk still facing the banking sector.

Five state-run banks reported that bad debts from industry contributed more than 70 per cent of their total NPAs, according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data presented by the Finance Ministry to the Lok Sabha Monday.

Alarmingly, of these five banks, four are relatively smaller ones.

Andhra Bank had the highest share of industry bad debts at 86 per cent, followed by United Bank of India (UBI) at 78 per cent and Indian Bank at 74 per cent.

The country’s largest bank, State Bank of India (SBI) had 73 per cent of its bad debts from the industry sector, followed by Allahabad Bank at 70 per cent.

Only two banks saw the share of industry NPAs at less than 50 per cent — Syndicate Bank and Bank of India at 36 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively.

Also read: State-run banks’ troubles increase as number of wilful defaulters goes up 14% in one year

Industry issue

Basic metals and metal products, gems and jewellery, engineering, vehicles, construction and textiles have been the major groups within industry seeing high levels of stress, RBI had pointed out in its December 2018 report of trends and progress in banking in India.

In 2017-18, even though industry received 37.3 per cent of total loans and advances by all the banks, it contributed to about three-fourth of the total NPAs.

However, with resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) picking up pace in 2018-19, industry NPAs have been coming down and banks have been making better recoveries.

The gross NPAs of state-run banks as of March 2019 was at Rs 8.06 lakh crore, as against Rs 8.95 lakh crore in the year-ago period.

Steps taken to resolve bad debts

The Modi government has announced many steps over the last few years to tackle the burgeoning bad debt problem. These include enactment of the IBC, amendments to the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, staffing the debt recovery tribunals, and asking banks to crack down on defaulters.

However, despite all these steps, resolution of bad debts has been a slow process, forcing the Modi government to go in for a massive bank capitalisation drive to ensure that state-run banks do not breach any regulatory capital requirements.

The government has also accelerated the bank consolidation drive by merging a big banks with smaller, lesser-performing ones to create a large competitive entity. The government merged State Bank of India with its associate banks and followed it with the merger of Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank.

Also read: RBI to the rescue – Modi govt eyes bank’s Rs 9.6 trillion surplus to beat economy blues


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