Bank of India to be out of RBI watch list soon as recovery picks up: MD

NEW DELHI: Bank of India (BoI) has put in place an aggressive bad loan recovery strategy and hopes to be out of the RBI‘s watch list soon, the state-run lender’s Managing Director Dinabandhu Mohapatra said.

Following inspection of books in March 2017, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) downgraded some of BoI’s accounts to NPA and placed the bank under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework.

Downgrading of accounts impacted the profitability as well as non-performing asset (NPA) position of the bank retrospectively.

“Fortunately, 70 per cent out of the loans downgraded by RBI are funded against Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC) issued by other banks. That means it is not exposure on borrower but exposure on banks.

“So, we have to invoke the LC on the banks which have issued and they will pay us back. We have already recovered Rs 2,000 crore by revoking LC…nothing to be worried. It will be claimed back from banks. Within a short span we have claimed back Rs 2,000 crore,” Mohapatra told PTI.

He, however, did not disclose the total exposure, citing the ongoing audit.

Asked by when the bank expects to be out of the PCA list, he said this has to decided by the RBI.

“We can expect and I am quite hopeful that in quickest time we will be taking care of all these issues and we will be definitely going forward with the support of the capital to be provided by the government and revival in the economy,” he said.

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Last month, the finance ministry committed Rs 2,257 crore capital support to the bank.

Observing that PCA should not be termed as a dampener, Mohapatra said, “It is rather enabler. It is helping the bank to take actions which will further strengthen the financials…even before PCA we have changed the working of Bank of India in tune with the requirement of the new age banking.”

Giving details of the improved financial performances, he said the NPA of the bank has come in the last six months, both in percentage and absolute terms.

Besides, he said, the bank has diversified risk and the corporate exposure has come down from 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

The bank has grown in retail, SME and agriculture segments and rationalised non-core activity and also initiated some structural and functional changes, leading to good numbers during the first two quarters, he said.

He also said there were reports in some sections of the media as well as social media that all the free services of public sector banks will cease from January 20, 2018.

“It is clarified that our bank does not have any plan of levying charges on those services which are available free of cost currently,” he said.