Banking sector this week: Moody#39;s ratings upgrade, Bank of Baroda numbers and a daring heist
Banking sector this week started off with a shocking robbery that took place at a Bank of Baroda branch in Mumbai. From deliberations over the last weekend between bankers and the finance ministry to State Bank of India (SBI) reducing its employee base and Bank of Baroda chief singing melody, the week perked up to end with the big bank announcement of Moody’s upgrading India’s sovereign rating and also some of the public sector companies.
Here’s a recap.
SBI cuts employee base
SBI, country’s largest bank, has reduced its total employee strength by 10,584 in the six months period after its merger. This is further expected to go down by 4,876 people by the end of the year closing March 2018, as targeted by the bank.
Bank of Baroda robbery
Over Rs 1 crore worth of jewellery and valuables were stolen from a Bank of Baroda branch in Navi Mumbai by robbers who dug a 25-feet tunnel from an adjacent shop.
Security of safes and safety deposit lockers at banks is now under question and Bank of Baroda CEO and other experts suggested an upgradation of security and alarm systems, fresh guidelines and safety procedures to battle evolving techniques of robbers and criminals.
Related: Dos and Don’ts while using a safety locker facility
Amidst the robbery news, Bank of Baroda reported a 36 percent drop in net profit at Rs 355 crore, even as its asset quality improved in quarter ended September 2017.
Singing to the old classic by Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar, “Jo waada kiya woh nibhaana padega”, CEO P.S. Jayakumar hoped to live up to the promise of controlling NPAs as the challenges still continue.
In some good news…
Banking sector also witnessed Moody’s upgrade for long-term ratings of four financial institutions including SBI and HDFC Bank.
Bankers also gave a thumbs-up to the sovereign rating upgrade saying it was an endorsement of the economic prudence and reforms in the country.
Weekend bankers’ manthan
After the weekend “PSB Manthan” with public sector banks (PSBs), the Department of Financial Services (DFS) will soon lay out an action plan for banks on differentiated lending to improve loan growth and look at improvements in the insolvency process to push resolution of non-performing assets (NPAs).
Busy with referring large corporate stressed loans to the insolvency courts and not finding buyers offering the right price, bankers sold about Rs 6,000 crore or just about 20 percent of proposed stock of bad loans to asset reconstruction companies.
RBI on interest rates and P2P guidelines
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is examining a study group’s recommendation on external benchmarking of loan rates, will take a considered view at an appropriate time, factoring in the transition cost of moving to the new system, said Viral Acharya, deputy governor of RBI.
Further, the central bank is soon likely to issue clarifications on the guidelines for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms relating to the lending limits, trusteeship and other operational norms.
Private credit card offer by ICICI Bank?
In other news, digital payment player Paytm has partnered with ICICI Bank, country’s largest private sector bank, to jointly launch ‘Paytm-ICICI Bank Postpaid’, offering interest-free short-term digital loans up to Rs 20,000 for a maximum of 45 days.