Exactly a year ago on February 12, 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued one of the strictest circulars ever on recognising bad loans and restructuring them before it is too late.
Under the revised framework, banks were given 180 days to resolve defaulting accounts of over Rs 2,000 crore. If banks failed to implement a resolution plan within the timeline, they were required to take the company to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for insolvency proceedings within 15 days of the end of the 180-day period.
The circular also forced corporates, borrowers, to pay dues on the date. Most bankers and borrowers have agreed that the circular was in the nature of a new constitution for corporate India and for the banking sector.
CNBC-TV18 spoke with RK Bansal, MD and CEO, Edelweiss ARC; Suharsh Sinha, partner, AZB Partners; BP Sharma, former ED, Bank of India and Sunil Srivastava, former deputy MD, SBI, to understand whether it has changed life and if yes, how?
Bansal said, "Change in behaviour is certainly there and that is a combination of February 12 circular plus NCLT. Overall fear of going to NCLT by any borrower is playing its role and people are making their best efforts to keep the accounts either standard or they go to the banks to at least find a resolution or settle the account."
Srivastava said, "The circular sets the ground rules and perhaps it should have been introduced may be 10 years earlier. But when you look at the practical part of it definitely it has made the borrowers very circumspect in taking further risks. It has caused a behavioural change in as much as they would not like to cross that Laxman rekha."
Sharma said, "It is visible only in case of fence sitters, which means the borrowers who had money to repay but were delaying, there it has acted, it has helped. But where the project has failed or it is incurring loss I don't think this guideline has helped."