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RBI creates sub-targets for foreign banks to lend to farmers, MSMEs

Banks have been complaining against this mandate, but the creation of a sub-target is likely to put them off even more

Anup Roy  |  Mumbai 

RBI, Reserve Bank of India
A woman walks past the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) head office in Mumbai | Photo: Reuters

The (RBI) has directed foreign with more than 20 branches to mandatorily create sub-targets to lend a portion of their loan

books to small and marginal farmers, as well as micro enterprises.

Banks, including Standard Chartered, Citibank and HSBC, have more than 20 branches in India. Foreign in India will have to eventually lend 40 per cent

of their total loan book to the priority sector by 2020.

have been complaining against this mandate, but the creation of a sub-target is likely to put them off even more.

In a notification on its website, RBI said a sub-target of 8 per cent of net bank credit, or credit equivalent amount of off-balance sheet exposure,

whichever is higher, “shall become applicable for foreign with 20 branches and above, for lending to small and marginal farmers from FY 2018-19.”

Another sub-target of 7.50 per cent, using the same criterion, would be levied to these from 2018-19 for lending to micro enterprises.

However, in a partial relief, the RBI on Thursday removed the prior condition that only loans of up to Rs 50 and Rs 100 million given to micro and small and

medium enterprises (MSMEs) would be considered for priority sector loans.

All bank loans to will now “qualify under priority sector without any credit cap,” the RBI said in a notification on its website.

To meet their priority sector targets, foreign often bought loans from microfinance and other NBFCs since by nature, foreign are not good at

giving small value commercial loans. Besides, they also don’t have the reach in rural areas where these loans are needed. Now with the removal of such a

cap, can breathe a sigh of relief since in most years, they fail to meet their priority sector loan targets.

First Published: Fri, March 02 2018. 07:02 IST
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