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Stressed assets level rises to 12% for banking industry in Q1 FY17

The level of stressed advances which include Non Performing Assets (NPAs) and restructured assets for the industry rose to 12 per cent, but for the public sector banks (PSBs), it has jumped to 15.4 per cent as of June 2016. As a result the returns on assets for the public sector banks have turned negative and are in net losses during the quarter.

The net combined loss for the 25 listed PSBs was Rs 1,193 crore in the first quarter ended June 2016 against net profit of Rs 9,449 crore in April-June 2015. Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor S S Mundra said credit growth has been tepid for many quarters and affecting interest income. A surge in slippages led to huge provisions and reversal of interest income. Governor said that some of the reasons for such miserable performance of the state-run banks are external and not in the control of the bank managements. An important lesson from such events is that in the absence of strong structural and governance reforms, consistency of the performance would always remain susceptible to such events.  He stressed that the prevailing priority is to complete the ongoing clean-up process of the state-run bank's balance sheets.

Deputy Governor said that continuity of top management is crucial, as there is a five-year term for a state-run bank chief executive officer and initial appointment can be for three years with certain milestones as riders for extension. If these milestones were achieved or a satisfactory explanation was available for not achieving these, at the end of the third year, there should be an automatic extension for another two years without any questions being asked. He added if there is a reasonable tenure, it allows someone to prepare a strategy and see that it is implemented. If the tenure is very short, there may be an inclination to postpone the problem because it can be handled by the next generation.

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