Money & Banking

RBI stress test indicates limited risks to banks

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on December 29, 2014 Published on December 29, 2014

A worker cleans the stairs of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) building in Kolkata in this December 18, 2013 file photo. Asia is proving new and fertile ground for Western lobbyists and public affairs consultancies who are helping shape post-crisis financial reforms in a region where regulators traditionally operate behind closed doors. To match story ASIA-FINANCIAL/LOBBYING REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files (INDIA - Tags: BUSINESS)   -  Reuters

What will happen to the Indian Banking System if it is faced with severe stress from the economy? The non-performing assets (NPAs) will shoot up, the capital adequacy ratios (CRARs) will fall but the banking system could still reasonably withstand a severe stress scenario, reveals the stress test conducted by the Reserve Bank of India.

NPAs arise when bank customers stop servicing their instalments beyond a specified grace period (usually 90-days) thereby giving rise to stress and CRARs indicate the quality of capital that banks hold with them, which enables them to ward-off stress.

“These stress scenarios are stringent and conservative assessments under hypothetical severely adverse economic conditions and should not be interpreted as forecasts or expected outcomes,” the RBI clarified.

However, if the risks of a severe contraction in gross domestic product growth, a higher fiscal deficit and inflation spiralling were to materialize, the banking system assets could come under a spot of bother.

In such a scenario, the gross non-performing asset (NPA) ratio of banks could increase to 6.3 per cent of the total advances from about 4.5 per cent at the end of September 2014.

This stress test takes into account only the performance of scheduled commercial banks – public sector banks, private sector banks and foreign banks.

“Under such a severe stress scenario, the system level CRAR of SCBs could decline to 9.8 per cent by March 2016 from 12.8 per cent in September 2014,” the RBI said in its yearly Financial Stability Report.

Sectorwise, it could be the engineering sector that could possibly contribute the most (12 per cent) to the high NPAs of banks in a severe stress scenario. This could be followed closely by the cement sector at 10.6 per cent of total advances.


The RBI said that the current level of provisions of various bank groups – public sector banks, private sector banks and foreign banks -- as a proportion of their respective total advances as of September 2014 were at 3.2 per cent, 1.9 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively.

Among the bank groups, the RBI added that the public sector banks had the highest expected loss at 3.2 per cent of their total advances as of September 2014.

“Though they may meet the expected losses under baseline scenarios they are likely to fall short in terms of having sufficient provisions to meet expected losses (EL) under adverse macroeconomic risk scenarios,” the central bank added.

The RBI’s bank-wise estimation of expected and unexpected losses shows that 20 banks, having about 29.8 per cent in total advances of select 60 banks, were unable to meet their expected losses with the existing provisions.

Also, there were only two banks that were expected to have higher unexpected losses than the total capital.

Published on December 29, 2014
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