MSME credit to grow at 12-14% over next 5 years: ICRA

The credit to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is expected to grow at 12-14 per cent over the next five years, helped by higher lending by non banking finance companies (NBFC) to the segment, says a report.
As on March 2017, credit to MSMEs stood at Rs 16 trillion.

NBFC and housing finance companies are expected to expand at about 20-21 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in this space during the period, while bank credit to this segment, which accounted for about 84 per cent of total MSME credit, is estimated to grow at a lower CAGR of 9-11 per cent, according to a report by Icra.

“Non-banks share in the MSME credit pie should expand to 22-23 per cent by March 2022 compared to 16 per cent in March 2017. Non-banks, with their niche positioning, differentiated product offering, good market knowledge and large unmet demand, would be able grow at a healthy rate vis-a-vis banks,” the rating agency’s assistant vice president and sector head, A M Karthik said.

He added there is large unmet credit demand in the MSME segment, which was estimate to be about Rs 25 trillion in FY2017.

“Notwithstanding the estimated growth, the unmet credit demand quantum is likely to increase further, going forward,” he said.

With large corporate credit expected to remain sluggish, at least over the next one-two years, the bank credit to the MSME segment is expected to be around 9-11 per cent with public sector banks growing at 7-9 per cent and private banks at 16-18 per cent, the report said.

Banking NPAs in the MSMEs segment stood high at about 8.4 per cent in March 2017 while that of non-banks stood at about 3 per cent as on that date.

The report said notwithstanding the moderate seasoning of the portfolio, non-banks have a more flexible and customised credit assessment for this segment and have steadily been moving to lower ticket loans, in view of the asset quality pressure in the large ticket loans and better yields in the smaller ticket loan categories.

“While non-bank asset quality is expected to worsen from current levels, the extent of deterioration may be lower than that witnessed in banks,” the report said.

Source: Times of India

Jewellery Export Council may cancel Firestar, Gitanjali Gems’ membership

The Mumbai-based council said earlier that the Nirav Modi/Gitanjali Gems incident is of concern to the industry and had condemned any sort of unlawful action.

The Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council may cancel the membership of Nirav Modi, Gitanjali Gems and related companies after Punjab National Bank named them in a complaint of alleged fraud.

“Their companies are registered with us. Nothing is known as of now but if something comes out, we will take disciplinary action against them,” said Praveenshankar Pandya, immediate past Chairman of the council. Firestar Diamond, owned by Nirav Modi, and Gitanjali Gems, which belongs to his uncle Mehul Choksi, are members of the council, the apex body of the gems and jewellery industry that represents almost 6,000 exporters.

According to a council official, cancellation of membership can cause problems for exporters as banks and suppliers often ask for certificates and membership details. “Our cancellation will reflect poorly on them in the global market,” the official said. The council hasn’t cancelled a membership in at least a decade, he said.

The Mumbai-based council said earlier that the Nirav Modi/Gitanjali Gems incident is of concern to the industry and had condemned any sort of unlawful action. “The council strongly believes that this incident will not have any contagion effect on the gems and jewellery export industry,” it said in a statement on February 17. Pandya sought an investigation into alleged irregularities by the two companies in their bank dealings. He said small exporters were now facing difficulty in securing loans worth Rs 20-30 crore from banks.

“There is a shortage of finance for small and medium diamond exporters. They are made to run from pillar to post, asked for collateral and other details like credit ratings by the banks,” Pandya said. India’s diamond exports stand at $23 billion with value addition in excess of $7 billion.


Source: The Economic Times



PNB fraud fallout: RBI tells banks to link SWIFT with CBS by 30 April

The PNB fraud, which happened via SWIFT, went undetected since it was not linked to core banking solutions (CBS) and because checks failed at several levels
RBI has announced the setting up of a panel under the chairmanship of Y.H. Malegam to study rising cases of bank fraud and set out a blueprint to curb them.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set 30 April as the deadline for banks to integrate SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) with core banking solutions (CBS) as it looks to strengthen internal controls in banks following the Rs11,400 crore PNB fraud.

“That (30 April) could be a deadline but it is an outer limit. Today, the urgency is such that everyone wants this project to be on fast track,” Usha Ananthasubramanian, managing director and chief executive officer of Allahabad Bank, and chairman of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), said on the sidelines of an IBA event on Friday.

“There is already a mandate from RBI that you need to comply with this straight through processing and combining SWIFT with CBS… Everybody has started…” she added.

The PNB fraud revolves around SWIFT. Branch officials of the lender fraudulently issued letters of undertaking, basically guarantees, to jeweller Nirav Modi-linked companies without getting proper approvals and without making entries in CBS, the software used to support a bank’s most common transactions.

The scam that happened via SWIFT went undetected since it was not linked to CBS and because checks failed at several levels, say experts.

RBI announced the setting up of a panel under the chairmanship of Y.H. Malegam, a former member of its central board of directors, to study rising cases of bank fraud and set out a blueprint to curb them.

In a letter to banks, RBI also reiterated that they must strictly comply with the principle of “four eyes”—that each SWIFT message must be processed by four bank officials: a maker, a checker, a verifier and an authorizer—two people who have seen the letter said on condition of anonymity.

“Apart from talking about maker-checker concept, RBI has asked banks to maintain a Chinese wall between officials dealing with SWIFT and CBS,” said a senior official at Mumbai-based bank, one of the two people cited above.

Source:  The Economic Times

Here’s why India has decided to crank up its crackdown against Bitcoins

I-T department issues notices to 4 lakh high networth individuals across the country who were trading in bitcoins on exchanges

Here’s why India has decided to crank up its crackdown against Bitcoins

The rising craze for bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that has rocketed to shocking highs, has come under the government’s lens. Bitcoin can be an easy way to evade tax or snare unsuspecting small investors in ponzi schemes. The government has begun a crackdown on illegal uses of this unregulated virtual currency.

Widening its probe into bitcoin investments and trade, the Income Tax (IT) department is set to issue notices to 4 to 5 lakh high networth individuals (HNI) across the country who were trading on the exchanges of this unregulated virtual currency, the PTI reported.

The move comes after the IT department conducted survey operations last week at major bitcoin exchanges across the country on suspicion of alleged tax evasion. These operations were undertaken for gathering evidence for establishing the identity of investors and traders, the transaction undertaken by them, identity of counter-parties and related bank accounts.Earlier this month, there was a spurt in the value of bitcoin. It rose from under $10,000 at the start of the year to close to $20,000, before a sharp 20 per cent plunge within hours.

In addition to financial risks—the value of bitcoins has seen huge falls within hours—the regulators are worried about their use for illicit and illegal activities, subjecting the users to an unintentional breach of laws against money laundering and terror finance.Concerns also emanate from some unscrupulous entities indulging in illicit money-pooling activities—commonly known as ponzi schemes—with the promise of huge returns from investment in bitcoins and other variants, which they claim are minted through blockchain, a distributed ledger technology that was created to mint bitcoins and comprises of extremely complex algorithms with several thousand nodes for each chain.

There is a suspicion that some so-called cryptocurrencies and bitcoin investments may actually have nothing to do with any blockchain-developed virtual currency and are just new ways devised by scamsters to ride the wave and what they may be offering could be ‘e-ponzi’ schemes.

The financial regulators are worried that a complete lack of regulatory regime for such cryptocurrencies may give rise to ‘e-ponzi’ schemes.

The financial sector watchdogs, including RBI and Sebi, as also various government agencies, will soon get into a huddle to prepare a framework to safeguard the gullible investors and to clamp down on the fraudsters who may try to manipulate the regulatory gaps, PTI reported, quoting a senior official.

There are quite a few proposals on the table and those include applying to cryptocurrencies the existing regulations aimed at checking the spread of ponzi schemes or illicit money-pooling activities, money laundering and black money generation and circulation, another official said.

The jury is still out on whether such virtual currencies should be allowed as legal payment tender or investments, though there are also suggestions from some quarters for allowing them with necessary checks and balances.

Credit growth gathering steam: RBI

Year-on-year disbursements up 10% as of November 24

Credit offtake from banks is gradually gathering steam, going by Reserve Bank of India data. This is underscored by the fact that year-on-year credit growth nudged closer to 10 per cent as on November 24, 2017.

Given the overhang of bad loans, especially in the case of public sector banks, market experts are of the view that these banks had turned risk-averse and reined in lending. However, banks seem to be slowly shrugging off their risk aversion.

In its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy statement, the Reserve Bank of India said: “On the positive side, there has been some pick-up in credit growth in recent months. Recapitalisation of public sector banks may help improve credit flows further.” After plunging to a multi-decade low of 4.1 per cent in May 2017, non-food bank credit has witnessed a rising trajectory every month since June, although it has been lower vis-a-vis the year-ago period.

In June, non-food bank credit growth rose to 4.8 per cent and increased in the following months — July (5.3 per cent); August (5.5 per cent); September (6.1 per cent); October (6.6 per cent). In the fortnight ended November 24, 2017, the banking system’s deposits declined by ₹41,164 crore while credit nudged up by ₹3,524 crore.


Source: The Hindu Business Online

FPIs pump over Rs 19,700 crore in November, highest in eight months

After taking a break from buying into Indian equities in August and September, FPIs bought equities in abundance in November.

Foreign investors pumped over Rs 19,700 crore into the country’s stock markets in November, the highest in eight months, mainly due to government’s plan to recapitalise PSU banks and surge in India’s ranking in the World Bank’s ease of doing business.

In addition, such investors put in Rs 530 crore in the debt markets during the period under review.

According to depositories data, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) invested a net amount of Rs 19,728 crore in equities last month.

This is the highest net investment by FPIs since March, when they had poured in Rs 30,906 crore in the equity market.It has been a tremendous journey for the Indian equity markets in 2017. After taking a break from buying into Indian equities in August and September, FPIs bought equities in abundance in November.

The strong inflow could be largely attributed to the government’s decision to recapitalise public-sector banks, which is expected to enhance lending and propel economic growth, said Morningstar India’s senior analyst manager (research) Himanshu Srivastava.

“This is particularly seen as a positive step after the questions have been raised from various quarters on the government’s ability to effectively implement economic reforms. Further, the slow pace of economic growth was also believed to be due to rising non performing assets (NPAs) problem in public sector banks, hence this decision provided a much-needed impetus to FPIs to again look back at Indian equity space,” he added.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced the PSU bank recapitalisation plan of Rs 2.11 trillion, out of which Rs 1.35 trillion will come from recapitalisation bonds, and the rest from markets and budgetary support.

Additionally, the news about India faring well in the World Bank’s Ease of Business index and a jump in core sector growth also turned the tide in India’s favour, Srivastava said.

India gained 30 places in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index for 2018 to 100th among 190 nations.

“These (bank’s recapitalisation plan and world bank’s ranking) and positive developments in the recent times provided a much-needed breather to FPIs who were concerned about the short-term impact of demonetisation and goods and services tax (GST) on the domestic economy and sluggish pace of economic recovery,” he added.

Yet another positive piece of news has come from Moody’s Investor Services, which upgraded its India rating by a notch to ‘Baa2’ from ‘Baa3’ with a stable outlook, citing improved economic growth prospects driven by the government reforms.
Overall, FPIs have invested Rs 53,800 crore in equities so far in 2017 and another Rs 1.46 lakh crore in debt markets.

MCA scanner on banks lending to deregistered companies

So far 13 banks have provided information to the government on 13,140 accounts of 5,820 deregistered companies, with the most startling details emerging from IDBI Bank, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank.

The corporate affairs ministry is likely to ask the department of financial services to take action against the banks which have continued lending to companies that have been deregistered.

The ministry is also likely to raise the issue of banks not showing urgency in sharing information on transactions of these companies before and after the announcement of demonetisation on November 8 last year.

The Registrar of Companies, which comes under the corporate affairs ministry, had struck off 2.09 lakh companies from the list of active establishments after they failed to comply with regulatory requirements. Banking transactions of these companies are restricted only for settling liabilities.

Despite this, according to sources, one government-owned bank has lent more than Rs 280 crore to a company after it was deregistered. Such transactions are likely to have occurred among other public sector banks as well, but the government still doesn’t have detailed data on the dealings, they said. “There is a need for greater transparency. We are simply waiting for the banks to come up with more information. Only a few have shared (the information) so far,” a senior government official said.

So far 13 banks have provided information to the government on 13,140 accounts of 5,820 deregistered companies, with the most startling details emerging from IDBI Bank, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank.

Earlier this month, the government said these 5,820 companies had deposited Rs 4,573 crore post demonetisation in banks and withdrew Rs 4,552 crore, even as they held balances of just Rs 22 crore on the day demonetisation was announced. This number is likely to go up manifold once the banks share more data.

The government is probing accounts of all the 2.09 lakh companies that were struck off the registry, which previously had about 13 lakh companies.

Four banks — Qatar National Bank, Doha Bank, Emirates NBD Bank and Punjab Gramin Bank — stated that they didn’t hold any accounts of the suspect companies.

A few companies were found to be having multiple accounts in some banks, like Bank of Baroda, where one company held as many as 915 accounts.