Money & Banking

Now, RBI can frame a ‘reconstruction scheme’without imposing moratorium on withdrawals

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 25, 2020 Published on June 25, 2020

Yields on commercial papers issued by NBFCs/HFCs that had shot up post the IL&FS fiasco in late 2018, have also fallen sharply in the past few months   -  REUTERS

Call this a fallout of the recent YES Bank debacle and its subsequent rescue episode.

The Centre has now decided to empower the Reserve Bank of India to handle mishaps in private banks (any banking company) without allowing any loss of public confidence and disruption in the financial system.

The much talked about Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 – which was approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday – will also allow the RBI to prepare a reconstruction scheme without having to first make an order of moratorium on barring deposit withdrawals, official sources said. As per the existing provisions, a scheme of reconstruction or amalgamation under Section 45 of Banking Regulation Act, can only be prepared during the period of moratorium.

Depositor confidence

The practice of introducing moratorium was seen as disruptive as it carried the risk of undermining depositor confidence and financial stability. The provision of Section 45 was last invoked in the YES Bank case.

As the economic situation arising from the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the stress in both co-operative banks and private banks, the new ordinance proposes to contain the necessary legislative amendments to empower the RBI to deal better with the stress in private banks, sources added.

At present, when the RBI finds something wrong in a bank, it has to impose a moratorium and appoint an administrator.

Once the moratorium comes into effect, the bank cannot lend, and existing depositors cannot withdraw beyond a specified amount. Unless this moratorium is in place, the RBI cannot consider any takeover, merger or amalgamation.

However, putting a bank under moratorium often leads to panic and loss of confidence in the banking system among the public. Also, value also gets eroded for the identified entity.

“So now, without imposing a moratorium, the RBI is being allowed to find suitors for the stressed bank. The RBI is now being allowed to do its job without creating panic among the public or disruption in the financial system,” said a former chief executive officer of a public sector bank.

Public confidence

Incidents like YES Bank prove that public confidence in the banking system takes a severe beating when a moratorium is announced. This also quickly erodes the value of the enterprise. It has other ramifications, too.

A case in point being how the Maharashtra government gave directions to its government departments not to park monies in private sector banks. Not only YES Bank, all private sector banks lost business on this account.

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Published on June 25, 2020
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