§ Macroeconomic factors key for financial stability: RBI:
Macroeconomic stability is important for preserving stability in the financial system, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). “However refined the financial regulation might be, it cannot compensate for weaknesses in the real economy. Hence, macroeconomic stability characterised by fiscal prudence and sustainable growth with low inflation is important to preserve the overall stability of the financial system,” said RBI’s Executive Director Deepak Mohanty on Saturday. According to Mohanty, the global financial crisis has given a greater macro- prudential orientation to financial regulation and emphasised on better quality capital so as to safeguard financial stability. Banks are currently under stress when it comes to their asset quality. “The current weaknesses in corporate balance sheets, partly due to subdued economic environment, have been feeding into banks’ balance sheets. This trend, if left unchecked, could ultimately impinge on financial stability,” added Mohanty.
§ Soiled Note Dealers See Brisk Biz on RBI Norms
When the central bank last month ordered the pullback of currency notes printed prior to 2005, the idea was taking back soiled notes and keep notes with better security features to reduce counterfeit. But that has brought a new life to a bunch of agents across the country boosting commission rates for those dealing in soiled notes. Beyond July for exchange, those who are carrying such notes have to disclose their identity for exchanging more than 10 pieces of high denomination notes. This has led to some belief that it is a trap to bring out undisclosed income and drives business for the unauthorized dealers. Surging demand has pushed the commission that used to be Rs. 500-600 for exchanging Rs. 1 lakh worth of notes to Rs. 900-1,000 now.
§ Pvt banks go offbeat to make inclusion effective:
Most private banks in the country have stepped up efforts to improve the penetration of banking services. While private banks are expanding their reach in the hinterland, they are not solely relying on brick- and- mortar branches to serve the rural population. ICICI Bank, is now using light commercial vehicles, equipped with a mini ATM, safe, laptops (connected to the bank’s core banking platform), and machines to count notes and detect forged cheques – to cover three to four unbanked villages a day to serve many of its rural customers in Maharashtra. In the last 18 months, it has opened 430 branches in unbanked regions. HDFC Bank has opened more than 88 per cent of its new branches in 2012- 13 in semi- urban and rural areas. Technology has played a big role in allowing banks to introduce innovative offers.
v Lenders see Little Signs of Revival as NPAs Rise:
Banks see little specks of revival as the third-quarter earnings season comes to an end, extending their credit-quality pain that began two years ago. A double whammy of increased loan defaults in a slowing economy and lower fund demand from corporate customers for new investments has severely hit the banking industry, driving up their non-performing assets (NPAs) and denting profits. Total net profit of the country’s 40 listed banks shrank more than 20% from a year earlier to Rs. 15,164 crore in the quarter ended on December 31, according to a data. To tide over the situation, banks are seeking the relative safety of retail loans and working capital funding for companies to meet daily requirements. Default rates in the retail segment are also lower compared with those on the corporate side. “Banks’ recovery efforts are being thwarted as there are limited buyers of assets due to overall economic conditions.” said KR Kamath, Chairman, IBA and CMD of Punjab National Bank.
v IBA says Banks Hired 3L Employees in Past 4 Years:
State-run banks hired nearly 3 lakh personnel, including over 94,000 officers, in the last four years, according to data released by IBA. While refuting reports that banks have gone slow or are not hiring at all, IBA deputy chief executive K. Unnikrishnan said 73,258 employees were hired in FY 2013 while for the period between April and August 2013, state-run banks hired 52,348 people, indicating a surge in hiring activity. A bulk of the hiring was at the clerical level, with 174,786 people being recruited during the four years and five months period, the IBA said, adding there were 28,467 hiring in the sub-staff category as well.