NEW DELHI :
Contrary to market expectations, there was not too much demand or clamour for restructuring of loans as permitted by RBI recently to beat the COVID-19 related stress, SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said.

He expects not more than 1.5 lakh crore worth loans would avail restructuring benefit even though people have projected it to be around 8 lakh crore.

“On the banking side, what I am saying, there is not too many demand. It may be contrary to what the public discourse is. Reasons could be many. One is lot of clean-up has already happened and lot of deleveraging done. More than the banks, corporates themselves are reluctant to carry the tag of restructuring. That is the feeling I am getting,” he said.

In such a scenario, he said, the need for restructuring would be more from the lower end of large corporates and upper end of MSMEs.

The segment above 25 crore and less than 400 crore would be coming for restructuring, he said, adding not many have shown interest as on date.

“The problem with me is that I am always more optimistic. That is where I have to be more careful because people will say this man does not know his job. We are saying 8 lakh crore restructuring he is saying not more than 1.5 lakh crore restructuring. So there is a wide variance. What we have found is that there is no clamour or rush for restructuring,” he said.

The RBI last month permitted one-time restructuring of both corporate and retail loans without getting classified as a non-performing asset (NPA). Restructuring benefit can be availed by those whose account was standard on March 1 and defaults should not be over 30 days.

The central bank also laid out some norms for implementation of a resolution plan which included eligibility of only special mention accounts 0 (SMA-0) borrowers as on March 1, 2020, independent credit assessment (ICA), higher provision among others. SMA 0 accounts are those where interest and principal payment is overdue for 1-30 days.

Emphasising that infrastructure is going to be a critical area for revival of growth, Kumar said, there is an investment pipeline of 110 lakh crore over 5 years.

The banking sector will have the responsibility to do the intermediation between the savers and borrowers, he said.

“The long-term high growth would depend on how much capex, how much investment we put in creating the fixed assets. We have huge infrastructure deficit…demand is insatiable. Banking system is ready to fulfil that responsibility. Without a sound financial system and banking system, the revival of economy is difficult,” he said.

On the challenges before the banking system, SBI Chairman said there are issues of capital, governance, potential risk around non-performing loans.

Steps need to be taken to mitigate and manage those risks, he added.

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