Raghuram Rajan wants individual bankers to take onus for large loans

"It is important that we streamline and reduce the overlaps between the jurisdictions of the authorities, and specify clear triggers or situations where one authority's oversight is invoked," said Raghuran Rajan.

By: PTI | Mumbai | Updated: August 16, 2016 12:54 pm
India, Raghuram Rajan, RBI, Reserve Bank of India, Narendra Modi, State abnks, Indian Banks, latest news, India news, India buisness news, National news RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. Express photo by Nirmal Harindran

Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan today said there is a need to shift loan sanctioning process from the present committee-based approach to single banker taking up the responsibility as well as rewarding the person if the project goes on well.

Addressing the annual bankers conference, Rajan said, “Even while committees may take the final loan decision, some senior banker ought to put her name on the proposal, taking responsibility for recommending the loan.”

To achieve this, the Governor said, “The incentive structure for bankers should be worked out so that they evaluate, design and monitor projects carefully, and get significant rewards if these work out.”

Addressing bankers’ body IBA and Ficci organised banking summit, Rajan said technology can go a long way in helping arrive at a better due diligence.

“IT systems within banks should be able to pull up overall performance records of loans recommended by individual bankers easily, and this should be an input into their promotion,” he said.

Asking to adopt more technology for risk assessment, Rajan said “Financiers should put in a robust system of project monitoring and appraisal, including where possible, careful real-time monitoring of costs.

He also asked bankers whether a project input cost be monitored and compared with comparable inputs elsewhere using IT, so that suspicious transactions suggesting over-invoicing are flagged?

It can be noted that currently large loans are sanctioned by a loan approval committee and no individual banker is held responsible if the loan goes kaput.

Underling the need for the project developer to have more of his skin in the project, the Governor said there is a need for more equity on one side and flexible loan structuring process on the other for infra projects financing by having a more flexible capital structure in place.

“The capital structure has to be related to residual risks of the project. The more the risk, more the equity component should be and the greater the flexibility in the debt structure,” he said.

Stating that incentivisation should work both ways, which means even the promoters should be rewarded for delivering on time, Rajan said, “promoters should be incentivised to deliver, with significant rewards for on-time execution and debt repayment.

“Where possible, corporate debt markets, either through direct issues or securitised project loan portfolios, should be used to absorb some of the initial project risks. More such arm’s length debt should typically refinance bank debt when construction is over,” Rajan said.

He also expressed optimism over some of the steps taken to strengthen corporate debt markets, including the new bankruptcy code, should make this possible.

Delivering his keynote speech, entitled ‘Interesting, Profitable, and Challenging: Banking Today’, the outgoing Governor said, “risk and cost reduction through information technology and risk management techniques will tend to increase effective risk-adjusted spreads.”

Suggesting ways to lower risks and increase loan portfolio, specially the project financing, Rajan said bankers badly need “to significantly introduce more in-house expertise to project evaluation, including understanding demand projections for the project’s output, likely competition, and the expertise and reliability of the promoter. Bankers will have to develop industry knowledge in key areas since consultants can be biased.

Secondly, real risks have to be mitigated where possible, and shared where not. Real risk mitigation requires ensuring that key permissions for land acquisition and construction are in place up front, while key inputs and customers are tied up through purchase agreements.

And that wherever these risks cannot be mitigated, they should be shared contractually between the promoter and banks or a transparent arbitration system agreed upon.

So, for instance, if demand falls below projections, perhaps an agreement among promoters and financier can indicate when new equity will be brought in and by whom, the Governor said.

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  1. V
    VP Joshi
    Aug 16, 2016 at 11:27 am
    Islamic banking reportedly means collecting interest, not as interest, but as a share in profits of the borrowers? Banks also lose if borrowers lose. Can this curb bad loans?
    1. A
      Aug 16, 2016 at 9:19 am
      Raghuram Rajan, retiring Governor of RBI now asking bankers to take onus for large loans.But Common man wants to ask him what he has done for last four years when he was Governor ?He has failed his duties as Governor of RBI to question all nationalised banks over their NPAs. No one wants to take tough stand while in power but they advise Govt after retirement. Sorry RR : U have failed to monitor NPA of Banks and this helped Vijya Mallya fled to England with help of politicians/ Bankers .Thus the Indian Monetary system became weaker and weaker under your leadership.
      1. C
        Aug 16, 2016 at 8:56 am
        C p Chandra das from Memphis, USAlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Raghuram Rajan , the outgoing Givernor of RBI deserves all praise for curbing inflation by the steps taken by him during his three years tenure in India. Before departure inlt;br/gt;Sep, he has taken the pains to give valuable inputs for the further growth of our country as a true patriot. The country stands to gain, by following his views considering his expertise in the field.
        1. J
          Aug 16, 2016 at 12:17 pm
          Suggestions of accountability needs to be looked into seriously failing which every year we will have rogue elements in the banks, business community who will continue to cheat and loot the money and enjoy all the luxuries of life and will later fly out of the country.lt;br/gt;Bank Staff . Officers and other credit approval committees are set up to carry out honest appraisal of the loan application for projects/business etc. In the middle East most of the senior expat bankers are from India and mainly worked with PSUs they are able to perform their roles in very strict manner resulting in minimum NPA;s . This is mainly due to accountability and laws which are implemented by the Governing bodies.
          1. B
            Aug 16, 2016 at 9:29 am
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