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With IBC the Default Tool, RBI Retires Debt Rejig Processes

With IBC the Default Tool, RBI Retires Debt Rejig Processes
Puts strict time limits on resolution of defaults, warns lenders of penalties on violations
The Reserve Bank of India has scrapped a number of loan-restructuring programmes that banks were using to recast debt, with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) having become the main tool to deal with defaulters. It also put strict time limits on the resolution of defaults in a notification issued late on Monday.
The central bank warned lenders of monetary penalties and higher provisions if they are found to have violated the rules or ‘evergreening’ accounts to escape the stringent new norms on CDR, JLF frameworks from March 2018 stressed asset resolution framework in view of enactment of IBC all stressed cases of over 2,000 cr must be completed within 180 days then account to be referred to IBC in 15 days outside IBC, account should not be in default with an exposure of more than 5 crore have to be reported on a weekly basis fixing defaults.
Almost all schemes such as corporate debt restructuring (CDR), sustainable structuring of stressed assets (S4A), strategic debt restructuring (SDR) and flexible structuring of existing longterm project loans have been abolished. The Joint Lenders Forum (JLF) that was designed to resolve potential bad debts has also been disbanded.
“Any failure on the part of lenders in meeting the prescribed timelines or any actions by lenders with an intent to conceal the actual status of accounts or evergreen the stressed accounts, will be subjected to stringent supervisory, enforcement actions,” the RBI said in a notification. That includes but is “not limited to, higher provisioning on such accounts and monetary penalties”.
The central bank’s action comes after a series of directions to banks, telling them to invoke bankruptcy proceedings against big defaulters under the IBC enacted in 2016. The various restructuring schemes that have been in force for years continued while banks became familiar with the new law. Now that the bankruptcy process appears to be stabilising, the regulator has found it apt to scrap the schemes, which were mostly regarded as having been misused or not being sophisticated enough to deal with the bad loan burden.
RBI has also tightened the reporting of defaults to the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) whenever an account becomes a so-called special mention account (SMA), that is, when payment is overdue for more than 30 days.This has to be done monthly rather than quarterly. Besides, all borrowers in default with an exposure of more than Rs 5 crore have to be reported on a weekly basis.It has also mandated that banks act quickly to resolve big defaults. It said banks have to come together to work out a resolution plan as soon as a default occurs and if this is not done within180 days, the account should be referred to the bankruptcy courts.
“As soon as there is a default in the borrower entity’s account with any lender, all lenders — singly or jointly — shall initiate steps to cure the default,” RBI said. “The resolution plan (RP) may involve any actions, plans, reorganisation including, but not limited to, regularisation of the account by payment of all over dues by the borrower entity, sale of the exposures to other entities, investors, change in ownership, or restructuring.’
For defaults exceeding `2,000 crore, the resolution plan has to be implemented within 180 days from March 1. For defaults after that date, it has to be done within 180 days from the day of default.
“For other accounts with aggregate exposure of the lenders below Rs 2,000 crore and at or above Rs 100 crore, the Reserve Bank intends to announce, over a two-year period, reference dates for implementing the RP to ensure calibrated, timebound resolution of all such accounts in default,” it said.
The Economic Times, New Delhi, 13th February 2018

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