Money & Banking

LVB-DBS merger: RSS affiliate urges RBI to reconsider proposal

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 24, 2020 Published on November 24, 2020

Swadesi Jagran Manch (SJM), an affiliate of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has urged Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to reconsider proposal regarding merger of Laxmi Vilas Bank (LVB) with DBS Bank

“We request the RBI to be transparent in this matter and to re-examine the proposed LVB merger with DBS. We are confident that the RBI will find a wholly Indian solution to this issue, protect the interests of depositors and bring LVB back to being the strong community institution that it has always been,” Ashwani Mahajan, National Co-convenor of SJM, said in a letter addressed to RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.

According to the letter, the proposal is for an outright merger of LVB with DBS India. Under this, LVB will cease to exist. DBS India acquires LVB for “zero payment”. In return, DBS takes over LVB “as-is-where-is” including the losses caused by the troubled loans. DBS, a foreign entity, gets the 563 branch network of LVB for free, 1,000 ATMs, and access to 2 million customers of LVB. “This is clearly a back-door entry to a foreign banking entity into the Indian market,” Mahajan wrote.

He expressed surprise that the RBI has chosen to ignore the inherent value in LVB, and has announced the handover to a foreign entity for free. DBS is stated to be injecting ₹2,500 crore in its own Indian subsidiary to enhance its capital to absorb LVB. “The point to note is that the money is coming into DBS India, and not into the troubled LVB. DBS is not paying any price for the acquisition. For this piffling amount being brought into their own subsidiary, DBS is gaining access to the LVB deposits reported to be in excess of Rs 20,000 crores of Indian money,” he said.

The RBI-appointed Administrator of LVB is on record that the deposits are safe, with the bank having adequate liquidity. The ideal resolution for any distressed commercial entity should entail a comprehensive valuation exercise, transparent invitation of bids from interested parties and final decision involving key stakeholders that maximises the value. “The RBI has not followed due process in this case. Why?,” Mahajan asked.

He mentioned that in the recent case of YES Bank, the RBI resolved the matter of recapitalization with contributions from SBI, LIC, HDFC, ICICI, Kotak and others to the tune of Rs 12,000 crores. The value of this investment has already gone up. “Likewise, the RBI can surely raise the few thousand crores (if at all that much) from Indian sources and recapitalize LVB and bring it back to healthy functioning. The Indian capital that is brought in will surely increase in value in a short time,” he advised.

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Published on November 24, 2020
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