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RBI governor for tighter controls at PSBs, proactive independent directors

Blames lack of it for elevated levels of NPAs, capital shortfalls, fraud

Anirban Nag | Bloomberg  |  New Delhi 

RBI governor Shaktikanta Das
RBI governor Shaktikanta Das

Reserve Bank of India governor called for stronger corporate governance at state-run lenders to make the country’s banking sector more efficient.

Describing the lack of strict governance as the “elephant in the room”, Das said this had led to elevated levels of non-performing assets, capital shortfalls, fraud and inadequate risk management.

“The role of independent boards in fostering a compliance culture by establishing the proper systems of control, audit and distinct reporting of business and risk management has been found wanting in some public-sector banks leading to build-up of NPAs,” Das told an audience in Ahmedabad.

State-run lenders control about 60 per cent of the banking industry. They are owned by the government, with the Reserve Bank of India having limited supervision and legal powers to bring about changes in management, unlike privately-owned ones over which is holds more sway. That creates an uneven playing field leading to question marks about the efficacy of central bank regulations over state-run institutions.

The banking sector has the highest ratio of in the world, with many bad loans to companies in sectors such as energy and steel. A crisis in shadow banking has also raised further concern that banks, which have 7 per cent of their loans to non-banking finance companies, will face a fresh spate of debt defaults.

Das said that while the number of NPAs has declined recently, the provision coverage ratio has increased to 60.5 per cent from 48.3 per cent a year ago. The capital adequacy ratio in the banking system has also climbed to above the Basel requirements, he said.

First Published: Sat, November 16 2019. 16:19 IST