State Bank of India (SBI) said it will buy good quality assets worth Rs 45,000 crore from NBFCs that are facing liquidity crunch triggered by a series of debt repayment defaults by financial conglomerate IL&FS and its subsidiaries. SBI, which earlier planned to purchase assets worth Rs 15,000 crore, has decided to buy additional assets of up to Rs 30,000 crore.
“This is a good commercial opportunity for the bank to increase the loan portfolio as NBFC assets are available at attractive rates,” SBI Managing Director P K Gupta told media. It will benefit both SBI and the NBFC sector as they get much required liquidity while the bank will get good loan portfolio, he said further.
“Bank had initially planned for a growth of Rs 15,000 crore through portfolio purchase during the current year which is now being enhanced. As per bank’s internal assessment, there may be an opportunity to buy additional portfolio in the range of Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 crore,” SBI said in a statement.
The country’s largest lender said that it has stepped up target purchase of good quality portfolio of assets from NBFCs. NBFC stocks have wilted due to heavy selling pressure following the IL&FS defaults since late September as investors raised concerns over the rising cost of borrowing for them amidst IL&FS crisis.
“There is a good opportunity to expand its loan portfolio at attractive rates. The bank is looking for opportunities both in priority and non-priority sectors,” SBI added. On September 23, SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar had said that there should not be any concern in the liquidity position at NBFCs. SBI had also made it clear that SBI would not curtail lending to NBFCs to quell such rumours.
The National Housing Bank (NHB), which regulates the non-banking finance companies, also said that it will enhance the refinance limit for NBFCs to Rs 30,000 crore to inject liquidity. NHB earlier had targeted Rs 24,000 refinancing for NBFCs in the current financial year. In the later half of September, it came to light that IL&FS group defaulted on a short-term loan of Rs 1,000 crore from Sidbi, while a subsidiary also defaulted on Rs 500 crore dues to the development finance institution.
While IL&FS has nearly Rs 35,000 crore consolidated debt, IL&FS Financial Services has Rs 17,000 crore of debt, which sits as standard asset for most of the lenders, according to a report. The group has seen its various long-term and short-term borrowing programmes downgraded to ‘default’ or ‘junk’ grades by credit rating agencies, even as the regulators are also probing alleged delay in disclosure about certain loan defaults.
Capital markets regulator Sebi, the Reserve Bank, the Corporate Affairs Ministry and the Finance Ministry have received complaints about alleged wrongdoings at Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) and its various group entities, including the listed ones followed by several resignations at the group including its CEO and MD Ramesh Bawa.
The board of the IL&FS was also dissolved and the government took control of the company by constituting a new six-member board under Kotak Mahindra Bank Managing Director & CEO, Uday Kotak.