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RBI may let PNB spread fraud losses over 1 year

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New Delhi :The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had agreed in principle to a request by Punjab National Bank (PNB) to spread its losses related to the Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi fraud over four quarters, sources said.
“However, we are still awaiting a written communication from the regulator,” a source at the Delhi-based public sector bank said.
PNB is staring at losses on account of fraud worth Rs 145 billion in 2017-18 after letters of undertaking worth Rs 129 billion were issued by its employees to the companies owned by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
PNB had declared both accounts fraudulent after reporting the matter to investigating agencies. According to RBI guidelines, banks have to make a provision for the amount related to fraudulent accounts in their books. The fraud amount in the two cases stood at Rs 136 billion, for which provisioning would have to be made in PNB’s books in the quarter ending March.
The bank has said these transactions were contingent in nature.
The decision will provide relief to PNB, which would otherwise have to put a quarter of its net worth at risk. PNB’s profit and overall asset quality are expected to take a hit.
Analysts pointed out that with the entire fraud amount becoming a non-performing asset, around 25 per cent of the bank’s estimated net worth of Rs 480 billion could be affected.
graph “To smoothen the effect of such provisioning on quarterly profit and loss, banks have the option to make the provisions over a period, not exceeding four quarters, commencing from the quarter in which the fraud has been detected,” the RBI guidelines on ‘provisioning related to fraud accounts’ issued in April 2016 say.
PNB will have to make deductions from its reserves as the full provisioning will be made in more than one financial year. The deductions will be made for the “amount remaining un-provided at the end of the financial year by credit to provisions”, according to the RBI.
PNB executives said the bank would honour ‘bona fide’ commitments to other banks related to the LoUs before the amount to be repaid turned into NPAs. The LoUs, if not repaid, will start turning into NPAs beginning May.
“There is no way the bank will become a defaulter in other banks’ books, even if the amount related to LoUs is not repaid by the end of this quarter. Concerns over becoming a defaulter, if at all, will arise once the LoUs turn into NPAs, which will happen only after 90 days from the deadline. Banks can never be treated as a defaulter,” sources in PNB said.
UCO Bank has the highest exposure of around Rs 30 billion in the alleged scam, followed by Union Bank and Allahabad Bank with exposure of around Rs 25 billion each, according to sources.


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RBI needs to ensure stability: Shaktikanta Das

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New Delhi: The head of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said he would take the steps necessary to maintain financial stability in the country and help create favourable conditions for growth.

India’s economy has grown because of measures such as the nationwide goods and services tax and the insolvency and bankruptcy code that prevents wilful defaulters from bidding for stressed assets, Shaktikanta Das said in his address to an investor roundtable.

The country’s growth story is backed by its strong domestic fundamentals, he said, citing lower inflation.

 

Annual retail inflation rate dropped to an 18-month low of 2.19 per cent in December, strengthening the views of some economists that the central bank could ease monetary policy next month.

India’s top business groups on Thursday urged the central bank to cut its benchmark interest rate by at least half a percentage point and lower the cash reserve ratio it imposes on banks.

The country also needs to watch out for any sudden turbulence in the gloal financial market, Das said.

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Centre removes two PNB executive directors for lapses in Rs 13,500-cr fraud

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Chennai:The Central government has removed two Punjab National Bank (PNB) Executive Directors — Sanjiv Sharan and K.Veera Brahmaji Rao — for the lapses in the Rs 13,500 crore fraud allegedly perpetrated by absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi.

The PNB has intimated the action to the stock exchanges.

“We welcome the Central government’s action to dismiss the two Executive Directors. The scam of such proportions could not have happened without the knowledge of the top management,” C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), told IANS.

 

“Perhaps for the first time, the Centra has removed the Executive Directors of a nationalised bank under the Nationalised Banks (Management and Miscellaneous Provision) Scheme, 1970. All these days it was said the top management of government-owned banks — Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Directors — are governed only by the contract of appointment.

“It is also good that the central government has followed the due process of giving the two PNB Executive Directors opportunity to put forth their views before dismissing them,” Venkatachalam added.

According to the Central government’s notification, on July 3, 2018, Sharan and Rao were issued a show cause notice as to why they could not be removed from office for having failed to exercise proper control over the functioning of PNB, thus enabling the fraud through the misuse of SWIFT at the bank’s Brady House branch in Mumbai.

After considering Sharan and Rao’s replies and the comments of the bank’s Board, the Centre removed them from office as it found it was expedient in the interests of PNB.

According to the notification, the dismissal of Rao is subject to the outcome of a plea in the Delhi High Court.

“We are happy to see some action being taken. Whether it is only the two Executive Directors and other officials are also involved in the scam has to be probed in full,” Venkatachalam said.

According to him, in the past, low-level officers would have been the scapegoats for such massive scams.

“With the action taken on the top management, people will be satisfied that public sector bank officials are answerable for their lapses,” Venkatachalam added.

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In this new world, data is the new wealth: Ambani

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Mumbai: Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps against ‘data colonisation’, specially by global corporations, stating that Indian data must be owned by Indians.

Invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s movement against political colonisation, Ambani said India now needs a new movement against data colonisation.

“Gandhiji led India’s movement against political colonisation. Today, we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonisation,” he said Gandhinagar at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.

 

Stressing that, in this new world, data is the new wealth, Ambani said, “India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people and not by corporate, especially global corporations.”

He further said, “For India to succeed in this data driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India. In other words, give Indian wealth back to every Indian.”

Stating that the “entire world has come to recognise” Modi “as a man of action”, Ambani said, “Honorable Prime Minister, am sure you will make this one of the principal goals of your digital India mission.”

Later in the day, countering Ambani’s call, Governor – Commonwealth of Kentucky, Matthew Griswold, asked Modi “to think in the opposite” in order to realise the tremendous opportunity that lies in Indo-US partnership.

“Honorable prime minister you have been asked from this stage to think about limiting the amount of competition, limiting the exchange of ideas, information and goods. I would encourage you to think in the opposite,” he said.

While stating that it is important to put the people of India first, Griswold said, “It is also important to put their opportunity and our opportunity as citizens of the world to trade with one another and exchange ideas because iron sharpens iron.”

The greatest possibility comes from the exchange of these idea, he added.

“If we can cut the regulations, cut the bureaucracy, cut the red tape, the opportunity is enormous between our nations,” he added that India is now the 10th largest trading partner for the US and “climbing quickly”.

“The opportunity before us between India and the United States is incredible, but responsibility falls on each of one us, those of us in elected positions, those of you in the industry, those of you who represent various constituencies, we have much work to do…we must do this, ” Griswold said.

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