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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Safety Of Banks And Merger Of Banks

Friday, July 10, 2015   Danendra Jain  expresses his views as under ( Read news given below which reports that top officials now accepts the real truth without disclosing their name that restructure is used as a tool to hide NOA only )

Which Bank Is First In NPA ?

It is reported in newspaper Today that United Bank of India has been placed at Top in the list of banks having more stressed assets compared to their total advances and in comparison to private banks

If a person read news about banks regularly , he is aware that banks like State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Union Bank, Oriental bank are considered as stronger banks whereas banks like United Bank of India, Central Bank of India , Uco bank, Indian Bank, Dena Bank, Vijya Bank are considered as weaker bank. Even two to three decades ago, banks like United Bank of India, UCo Bank, Indian banks were considered as weak bank and were on the verge of merger with so called stronger banks.

Government of India has been making promising year after year and quarter after quarter that health of public sector banks is good and regulating agencies like RBI and Ministry of Finance is closely watching the performance of these banks. As a matter of fact , actual health of these banks never improved by virtue of any change in policy or change in controlling offices. It is the art of manipulation which helps some banks to show good performance in some quarters and bad performance in some other quarters. Some of Chiefs are purely looters and some are less looters. Some banks have been exploited by politicians to greater extent and some are to lesser extent due to some reason or the other. Some of Chief are blind flatterer of Ministers and some are less Yesman. In fact there is no improvement in work culture and no change in attitude of politicians in using bank for vote purpose.
Unfortunately , Government of India has never taken any step to improve the health of PSU banks. On the contrary , ruling party has always tried to exploit these banks for political advantage. Sometimes they prescribe Loan Mela for growth of bank and sometimes they build pressure for write off of bad loans. Sometimes they build pressure on banks for priority sector lending and sometimes for lending for growth in infrastructure in the country. Sometimes the prescribe brainless expansion of branch network or ATM network and sometimes they ask for opening of accounts or doing insurance business.

It is they who have damaged the banking culture from grass root level and injected corruption and malpractices in PSU banks. It is they who use banks to garner votes and then it is they only who accuse banks for lesser profit compared to banks. When Financials of PSU banks reflect signs of weakness compared to peer private banks, they prescribe certain change in policy or change in Chief of banks, but dirty culture of exploitation of bank never stops.

Due to continuous exploitation of PSU banks by politicians , health of these banks have consistently moved from good to bad and bad to worse. GOI has to provide capital support from time to time. Even then the health of banks do not appear to be improving, rather it is deteriorating quarter after quarter. Volume of stressed assets in weakest bank United Bank is reported to be 21.5% and that in strongest bank SBI is more than 15%. This is the statistics which is published by these banks and which is accepted by RBI too.

If correct assessment of quality of assets of all PSU banks is done by an unbiased agency without any fear of repercussion or punitive action, I am very much sure that volume of stressed assets will be around 50 percent of total advances or approaching it.

And the matter of concern is that no concrete step has been taken by any agency to stop this uptrend in stressed assets. Quality of lending has not improved. Quality of workforce promoted to higher level is not based on ability to perform or based on seniority and experience but purely based on flattery and bribery. Similarly quality of recruitment in PSU banks has faced erosion year after year during the regime of reformation launched since 1991. So called merit oriented promotion policy or recruitment set up has failed to ensure merit at any level, rather it has promoted demerit.
Obviously , on the one hand banks are appearing to recover bad loan , on the other they are adding many more times of it as new bad loan. They are unable to control loss caused by frauds and stressed assets. It is all because neither management of banks are honestly doing corrective and reformative work, nor are government officials or ministers taking any concrete step to stop further deterioration in quality of assets and quality of work force.

Unless and until there is change in culture and mindset of people who work in bank and who monitor and regulate them ,there is no hope for improvement in health of ailing PSU banks. GOI will have to decide whether banks are to be used as tool to fulfil social objective or to be left free to earn profit and profit only. Similarly , bank officials have to decide whether they are meant to serve their organisation or they are to served their bosses and bosses only.

Sunday, August 30, 2015 Danendra Jain writes as under

Role Of Corrupt System In Rising NPA In Banks

This refers to an article published in Economic Times which reflects how corruption plays a big role in rise in stressed asses in banks.There is no doubt in it that corruption at all levels is root cause of rising stressed assets in banking system and poor recovery of dues from defaulting borrowers. Team of Chartered Accountants, Auditors, Middlemen, Advocates and bank officials all play their role in sanction of loan to unscrupulous loan seekers and then in delayed or non-recovery from a bad borrower or in writing off of loans. First they help in sanction of bad loans and then in helping bad borrowers someway or the other in getting rid of loan or relief in loan.

Politicians have created bad culture in all offices and all departments. Merit is of  little value or of no value in Indian system but flattery and bribery play significant role in all sphere of life. Management of  public sector bank is also victim of this bad culture of flattery and bribery. Honest officers like Ashok Khemka and Durga Nagpal in banks are not only rejected in promotion processes but also posted at far, ineffective, critical  and remote  places. Honesty and good performance result in only disturbance of peace of mind and trouble for family.

Team of Chartered Accountants  who are master in preparation of financial papers needed for sanction of a loan in a bank help borrowers in cheating banks or you say in getting loan in nexus with bank officials , of course with underhand dealings in cash or in kind.  Politicians build pressure on top bankers to favour corporate houses of their choices. Then top officials build pressure on juniors to sanction loans to parties of their choice. Finally a Branch Head sanctions loans to please local musclemen or middlemen to lead a safe and prosperous life. Altogether  , it forms a vicious circle and creates finally a bad culture where good performers think it wise in sitting at back benches and / or keeping them away from all promotion processes or from taking part in credit approval processes or remaining silent spectator of ill-motivated bad decisions of bosses..Quality of credit is often compromised.

Property valuers, architects, chartered engineers , Contractors ,dealers or suppliers in/ of  goods, plants and machineries and various services, all work in nexus with bankers and loan seekers . Bank officials get commission whereas loan seekers get quick disposal and sanction of their loan proposals. Business houses or traders who hesitate in giving money in lieu of loan sanction run from pillar to post and finally get either inadequate loan or get loan after inordinate delay.

When loan accounts turn bad and banks file cases in courts to recover their dues, advocates help bad borrowers in delaying action on cases filed against them by bankers. or else some higher bosses or some political masters recommend writing off of loans or for compromise settlements with bad borrowers thus causing huge loss to banks. When banks face capital shortage , it is Government which provide infusion of capital to sick banks so that real exposure of bank or borrowers or inefficiency of the officers do not take place and all guilty officials are either awarded or exonerated from charges of irregularities  .

Branch Managers who are honest performers will not be provided adequate staff or will be deprived of quality staff. Similarly auditors who write truth about loan accounts and about functioning of branches are either tortured by frequent transfers or their supporting staff are reduced to bare minimum and they are advised to complete audit work in minimum number of days so that they may not go deep into any mal-functioning.

Debt Recovery Tribunals or Certificate offices or Judiciary or CBI or CVC dealing in banks related cases of corruption or court cases related to default are provided with inefficient staff , inadequate number of staff  and inferior infrastructure. Good carpenters have to quarrel with his tools and retire or die. Old proverb 'Bad Carpenters quarrel with tools '  is now changed . In modern era, bad carpenter flourishes by leaps and bounds whereas good carpenters quarrel with his tools.

Lacs of cases are pending in all courts of the country for years and for decades and people are therefore not afraid of court action. Defaulters and criminals are not afraid of law and legal action, rather they use legal procedures to get rid of punishments. Police is not trustworthy like their counterparts in America or elsewhere. Rules and laws and finally, entire legal and administrative set up are moulded, manipulated , managed, misinterpreted , modified to suit defaulters and criminals. This is reality of Great and Lovely India.
Honesty is no more is the best policy. Survival for the fittest is no more a reality. One has to learn the art of cheating with dignity and then only he or she can survive and lead a healthy, wealthy and safe life. One has to learn the art of speaking and delivery of good lectures .One has to learn how to appear to be good and act bad simultaneously. One has to develop expertise in preaching good sermons and then to stab and defraud the system for getting quicker success than ideally good, honest and devoted workers.
I have therefore no doubt that corrupt banking system creates mountain of bad debts and makes the recovery process complicated , delayed and ineffective. It is difficult to single out bankers for such pathetic position of bankers, all related with process of loan sanction and processes for recovery of loan from defaulters are equally and jointly responsible for current mess in banking system. 

Even media men also play their role in adding fuel to fire . They speak the language of  a person or the company who can pay them better for publishing a news. They are least bothered whether published news is correct or incorrect. They can spoil the career of good persons or make a bad person appearing as if He or She is the God. Media men can spoil entire day or week in analysing who murdered and how Indrani was killed. They can publish false news of a company to misguide investors in shares of the company or they can publish a rumour which can tarnish the image of a company or a political party just to get money in lieu of news or to serve the interest of a party whom they like or dislike. They do not understand the implication and complication associated with banking activities or financial discipline of a bank or a company.

Fundamentals strong, global events won't impact India: Jaitley--Hindustan Times 8th September 2015
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday India will be among the lesser impacted countries by the global economic turmoil but the government needs to take steps to strengthen the economy.
Jaitley was briefing the media after the high-level meeting on global economic scenario chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi where bankers and billionaires talked about how India can manage global economic turbulence, including opportunities for Asia's third-largest economy in China's market and growth woes.

"Most participants felt that we are going through a phase of volatility which might turn to some turmoil on the market. Volatility is the norm of the moment and will result in turmoil in the markets and rupee," said Jaitley.

"By and large, a major crux of the entire discussion was that in terms of its economy India is relatively untouched. It was suggested that we should take steps to strengthen India's economy," he said.
Jaitley said the impact of the global turmoil will be far lesser on the Indian economy as its fundamentals are reasonably strong.
The meeting in New Delhi was attended by tycoons including the country's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, Jaitley, Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan, economists and state and private bank chiefs.

The minister said issues of ease of doing business, cost of labour and capital and stalled projects were also raised by participants at the meeting. Participants specifically emphasised on two steps - bankruptcy code and anti-corruption - and many of them wanted monetary policy easing by RBI, the minister said










 Bankers expect NPA crisis to worsen in next few years: EY survey-LiveMint-8th Sember 2015

EY stated that 72% of the respondents felt that in the current scenario, the RBI’s debt restructuring norms are being misused by borrowers
Mumbai: The issue of non-performing assets (NPAs) in Indian banks is going to worsen in the next few years, according to a majority of bankers surveyed by consulting firm EY.
The EY survey asked respondents about various issues relating to rising bad loans, including the reason and ways to contain the problem.

In its report titled ‘Unmasking India’s NPA Issue’ released on Tuesday, EY stated that 72% of the respondents, a majority of whom were bankers, felt that in the current scenario, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) debt restructuring norms are being misused by borrowers.

According to the report, the overall level of stressed loans—or the sum of gross NPAs and gross restructured assets—went to over 11% in March 2015, from 9.2% in March 2013. Similarly, gross NPAs rose to 4.6% from 3.4% in the same period.

At 39 listed banks, gross NPAs rose 27.69% to Rs.3.21 trillion on 30 June 2015 from Rs.2.51 trillion in the year-ago period.

The report noted that about 40% of the loan accounts restructured between 2011 and 2014 had turned bad.

“The pace and quantum with which restructuring of loans were being undertaken, implied that restructuring of accounts was being resorted to avoid classification of accounts as NPA and thereby enable lower provisioning in the bank books,” EY said in the report.

As many as 87% of the respondents stated that diversion of bank funds to unrelated businesses or fraud by borrowers directly resulted in the steep rise in the level of bad loans. Also, 64% of the respondents believed that lapses in the initial due diligence was a big reason for increased NPAs, said the report.

Only 15% of the respondents were optimistic that recent regulatory changes by the RBI and increased supervision would be productive in controlling the rising NPAs.

Most of the respondents said that forensic audit of accounts instead of the present practice of doing a general audit of accounts of the borrowers before taking a call on the debt restructuring will help. About 91% of the bankers who responded to EY’s queries agreed that forensic audit prior to approval of restructuring plans was essential to control incidences of default. Further, 54% of the respondents believed that a forensic audit would help in weeding out wilful defaulters from genuine borrowers.
The survey noted that 68% of the respondents felt that enhancing their internal skill sets on credit assessment and evaluation was essential in fighting the NPA issue, while 56% said that independent borrower checks was essential in ensuring that the situation does not worsen.

EY said that the survey recorded responses from 110 participants, largely from public sector, private sector, foreign and co-operative banks. Most bankers surveyed belonged to credit operations in their respective banks. Other bankers were from the legal and compliance, loan recovery, auditing and vigilance departments.

I am reproducing below my blog of November 2009 .This is due to recent news when Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley has again suggested merger of some weak banks with strong banks. This merger medicine had been prescribed by FM six years ago too . Since then sickness of bank has grown quarter after quarter and none of succeeding FM could succeed in executing their merger plan. More than three decades ago also, the then government had planned to merger banks like United bank, U Co Bank, Indian Ban with other stronger bank. But all government of the past failed to execute their merger plan.

Even now possibility of merger is remote and even if this suicidal step is taken , it is not going to give permanent relief to sick public sector banks and neither will it help in increasing GDP of the country. It may however help Government in hiding evil works of politicians and top bankers of last one decade and more who looted banks to serve their self interest more than serving Nation and common men. Faulty policies of past governments and faulty attitude of bankers are jointly responsible for present state of affairs and merger plan at best may help in hiding the malady of evil officials and saving the real culprits.

Merger plan suggested by various governments may give temporary relief only and in no case it is a permanent solution to critical and deep rooted disease . It is a case of absolute mismanagement of public banks for political gain . It is a case of lack of understanding of real cause of growing sickness in banks. FMs of past have resorted to merger of Regional Rural banks with parent bank or merger of weak banks like Global Trust Bank or New bank with some bigger banks , but could not change the mind-set of neither bankers nor politicians who are at the root of all sicknesses.

Government will have to first decide whether  they want to use PSBs  to fulfil National Growth and Poverty alleviation agenda or to allow these banks to function as total commercial entity at par with private banks. Both agenda cannot run parallel. And even if Government want to use banks for both the purposes, they will have to a full proof  and perfectly documented plan in this regard and stop comparing these banks with private banks. Arbitrary and whimsical treatment to cure banks will not help in curing sick banks , rather aggravate sickness.

Private banks have been created by various private promoters with sole objective of earning profit whereas public sector banks are formed solely for fulfilling social welfare agenda. There is heaven and hell difference between the nature of two types of banks. PSBs cannot dream of competing with private banks . But the most painful and disheartening is that these PSBs are not only competing with private banks but also competing with their own sisters banks, i.e. one PSB is competing with other PSB, knowing very well that loss to any PSB is direct loss to Indian Government and to people of India only.

Since my six year article still has got the same relevance now, I am reproducing the same for my friends. Merger of weak banks with so called stronger banks can alter the shape and size of public sector banks but cannot modify the attitude , mindset, working style and intention of bankers or that of politicians or that of administrative and legal officials. Until GOI , RBI , Bank management and all auditing and vigilance officials learn to say spade a spade and punish real culprits instead of awarding them, we cannot dream of healthy banks in public sector at least.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Needless mergers of banks

Central Government has been building pressure on banks to make best efforts for merger and acquisition. But I am unable to understand the motive behind it in Indian perspective. Finance Minister has said that through consolidation, financial powers of banks will improve and they will not only be able to augment efficiency and help in GDP growth but also get success in competing with International big banks.

Here the million dollar question arises whether Late Indira Gandhi had nationalized banks to compete with International banks, whether banks are meant to extend credit in thousands of crores to a few hundred merchants or manufacturers only?

Have government forgotten the social objective of banks completely?

Is it possible for a government to survive by discarding the interest of common men, farmers, small traders in India?

Is it necessary for India to have bigger banks to extend credit to farmers and small traders who together constitutes 95% of population and without whose support even economic viability of large projects would be at stake?

It is important to mention here that there is sharp rise in loan portfolio or visible growth in advances of banks in general is not due to financing made by banks to small traders and farmers but only due to bulk financing made to big corporate houses, to real estate developers and to infra structure developers.

Does any one in the government or in RBI mean that by merger and enhancing powers of banks, there will be equitable GDP growth in country like India?

Even in America where big banks are many, one out of every seven Americans starves and struggle for earning their bread and butter for at least survival. In India the position is worse than that in USA. In India nine out of every ten Indians are unable to earn sufficient money even for respectful living. Considerable large proportion of Indian population is suffering from mal-nutrition; they die of curable diseases in want of proper medical assistance and they remain unemployed in want of adequate opportunities. This is India where even federal structure of the country is at stake due to largely growing unemployment and where person like Raj Thakre has been trying hard to disallow Non-marathi to seek employment in Maharashtra and Shiv Raj Chouhan CM says he would not employment to Biharis and North Indian in the state of MP. Besides in majority of villages, small towns and cities there is no proper sanitation facilities, acute scarcity of water and electricity, crisis for medical treatment and what not. This is why I reiterate that Indian environment is different from other developed nations and hence need unique treatment.

It is worthwhile to add here that USA government have realized after fall of big banks and financial Institution during last year that management of big banks is very difficult compared to smaller ones. Still there are about 8000 smaller banks functioning in USA to serve common men. It is also true that 125 banks became bankrupt or closed their shutters during the current year in USA.

If we talk of India we have less than 30 public sector banks and they are said to be in better health position. They are well scattered in every nook and corner of the country to serve Indians in general. They have to be encouraged to extend maximum help to small borrowers. They cannot extend any better help to poor person after merger of banks. Then what is the need of merger and acquisition? Why is government bent upon merger Need of the hour is to make them able to cater to the needs of common men.

Even if government feels the necessity of having large banks with huge capital to compete with foreign banks, they can choose to have one or two like SBI or PNB (after merger of SBI with associate banks I think capital size of SBI will be comparable with their foreign counterparts and similarly after merger of PNB with some suitable bank),At least other banks should be left untouched to serve common men and forget big projects, bulk financing, corporate borrowers completely and concentrate only on small and mid size borrowers i.e. credit upto ten lacs.

Even if we leave aside the social objective, it is not commercially proposition to build pressure (frequent request by FM or RBI is enough to build pressure) on banks to go for merger and acquisition especially when government have granted economic freedom to individual banks in the era of economic reformation , liberalization and globalization When need will arise banks will themselves strive hard to grow bigger to survive. As of now banks in India are said to be safer than foreign banks. Even government has admitted it repeatedly.

Inspite of all ,if government still consider it better to go for merger , I would like to suggest our Finance Minister to merge all PSBs including SBI and make them one entity like Income Tax department and other departments of Government of India so that there be no unwarranted interest rate war, no case of multiple financing, no case of take over at the cost of bank’s interest and no unhealthy competition as prevalent in banking industry. There will be unified effort to recover the money from recalcitrant borrowers. Banks will be able to check money laundering in a better way .People will not get opportunity to park their black money in different branches of different banks.

Need of the hour is to strengthen the existing structure of banks, make them more and more efficient and enthusiastic. Government should make efforts for repayment of loan and for this purpose make water tight laws to ensure cent percent recovery of loan from willful defaulters so that proportion of dead money in bank’s balance sheet comes down and they can afford and generate will to make finance to common men. Present scenario is that branch manager of every bank’s branch is afraid of extending credit to small borrowers in fear of account going bad and lastly added to Non Performing Asset. Need of the hour is to avoid political intervention in banking affairs and to resort to healthy norms for financing without any fear of target achievement. To add fuel to fire every banks are suffering from staff shortage and as a consequence there is no monitoring on existing borrowal accounts and gradually service quality in banks at many branches is deteriorating in want of adequate staff. Banks are even unable to redeploy the existing surplus staff at Metro branches due to protest from powerful employees union.

Last but not the least; bitter truth is that big business houses are getting all sorts of help from the government, from the banks and from all corners but all at the cost of poor and middle family. Rich business houses are producing, hoarding and realizing maximum profit on their products and it will not exaggeration to say that the present trend of rising price is caused by these profit makers only. Government has been making promises and promises to control price, but always fail on this front because they have given undue freedom and undue privileges to these business houses. I hope government will make all best efforts to give relief to general mass who are subjected to unbearable pain on account of sharp price rise in all commodities without proportionate rise in their monthly income.

India is said to be suffering from naxalism due to increasing poverty and due to the fact that they are denied their legitimate right and they are even deprived of justice in proper time. Can merger and acquisition by banks help in ameliorating their problems of poverty ridden Indians? I would like to draw the attention of learned FM and PM that late Indira Gandhi (Congress Party) had nationalized banks because private banks were hesitant to extend credit to common men, villagers were deprived of banking facilities and common men was afraid of even entering in to bank. Private Banks were exploiting not only staff working in the banks but were also exploiting business houses. It will not be exaggeration to predict and say that the same Congress Party under the banner of UPA is dragging banking industry in pre-nationalization era.

Please keep in mind that during reformation era 23 banks were forcefully merged to bigger banks by government of India because they succumbed to malady and irregularity they accumulated , and not because they were small banks. Giant banks ,Lehman Brothers, AIG failed not because they were big but they followed wrong policies and committed misadventure in delivery of credit and in making investments.

In India I doubt the honesty and integrity of government in their efforts for merger, acquisition and consolidation of banks because they know the quantum of malady and bad assets hidden behind the rosy balance sheets of PSBs. Otherwise there is no reason for providing capital infusion to various weak banks from time to time. It is their political agenda to save the banks from exposure of their reality when the misdeeds increases to such a large extent that it punctures the tyre of running banks. They are trying to divert the attention of public from inherent weaknesses of PSBs and this is why they are not agreeable to respectable wage revision of bank employees even after two year long dialogue with union leaders. Exodus of talented employees and non entry of well qualified person in PSB banks is also a vital reason behind growing weakness of Banks. On the contrary private banks like ICICI and HDFC banks have grown to such a large extent in last 15 years of their existence that even 100 year old PSBs are facing challenge for survival.

Danendra Jain

21st November 2009
Also Read

Fragile State-Run Banks to Merge With Strong Peers if Worries Persist: Jaitley-NDTV 9th September 2015

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said consolidation of weaker state-run banks with stronger ones will be the next step if some of the lenders continue to remain fragile despite steps to strengthen them.

Speaking at an event organised by The Economist here, Mr Jaitley also said that though non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking sector was a cause of concern, there was no ground to "panic".

He said the government was taking steps to strengthen the public sector banks and highlighted the measures, like capital infusion and hiring of professionals, including from private sector. Bringing down government stakes in these banks to 52 per cent would further augment their capital.

The government's first objective was to strengthen fragile public sector banks (PSBs), he said.

"After this (measures) if there is a fragile bank we are looking at consolidation with stronger banks. So it's not that banks don't get a priority. In fact, after inheriting the banks in a fragile situation, we are systematically trying to address each of these problems," Mr Jaitley said.

On NPAs, he said: "It is (banking system) a matter of concern. It's not the main worry. There is no ground to panic.

The banking system that we inherited primarily, the public sector banks, was actually very challenging.

"When the economy slowed down, and when you inherit the economy at sub-5 per cent level, it has an impact on the banking system as well... primarily three or four sectors... (have) added to the NPAs of the public sector banks," he said.

He said the NPA was mainly in sectors like highways, steel, state discoms and textiles.

Mr Jaitley further said the government has addressed the highway issue in a "big manner", large investment is going in highways and it has "started moving".

"As far as the discoms are concerned, I am in touch with each of the states where the discoms need to be reformed," he said, adding government was looking at more steps to check dumping of steel in the country.

Gross NPAs of the state-run banks at the end of March quarter stood at 5.2 per cent compared with 5.63 per cent in December.

Out of Rs 1.80 lakh crore capital requirement estimated by the Finance Ministry for state-run banks, the government would be providing Rs 70,000 crore -- Rs 25,000 crore each in the current and the next fiscal, and Rs 10,000 crore each in 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal.


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