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RBI monitoring Yes Bank since 2017, noticed governance issues, weak compliance: FM Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the RBI advised a change within the Yes Bank management after finding risky credit decision.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 6, 2020 6:55:21 pm
Nirmala Sitharaman on Yes Bank crisis Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman responds on the crisis engulfing Yes Bank. (Express Photo/File)

Divulging details into the crisis that has engulfed Yes Bank, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had been monitoring the beleaguered bank since 2017 and noticed governance issues and weak compliance besides wrong asset classification.

Addressing a press briefing, Sitharaman further stated that the RBI advised a change within the Yes Bank management after finding risky credit decision. “Anil Ambani Group, Essel, DHFL, ILFS, Vodafone are some of the very stressed corporate whom Yes Bank lent,” she said.

The Finance Minister also said that the government has asked the central bank to look into what went wrong at Yes Bank and fix individual responsibilities.

The RBI, on the other hand, stated that the State Bank of India (SBI) has expressed willingness to invest in Yes Bank. In a draft ‘Yes Bank Ltd. Reconstruction Scheme, 2020’, the RBI also said the strategic investor bank will have to pick up 49 per cent stake and it cannot reduce holding to below 26 per cent before three years from the date of capital infusion.

Earlier, speaking to reporters, Sitharaman had allayed concerns surrounding the Yes Bank crisis and assured that every depositor’s money was safe. She also insisted that she was in touch with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regarding the matter.

“I’m in continuous interaction with the RBI. The central bank is fully seized of the matter and has assured they will give a quick resolution. I want to assure every depositor that their money shall be safe. Their monies are safe,” Sitharaman told reporters here.

“RBI governor has assured me that there will be no loss to any depositor,” she said. “Both RBI and govt are looking at the Yes Bank issue in detail, we have taken a course which will be in everyone’s interest.”

The immediate priority, Sitharaman said, was to ensure Yes Bank customers were able to withdraw money within Rs 50,000 cap. She further said the RBI was working for the early resolution of the issue and that steps had been taken keeping in mind the interest of depositors, bank and the economy. Click here to track LIVE updates on Yes Bank crisis

Panic-stricken depositors gather around a Yes Bank branch in Ahmedabad. (Express Photo by Javed Raja)

On Thursday, the RBI had superseded the board of directors of troubled Yes Bank for a period of 30 days “owing to serious deterioration in the financial position” of the bank and capped deposit withdrawals at Rs 50,000 per depositor. “This has been done to quickly restore depositors’ confidence in the bank, including by putting in place a scheme for reconstruction or amalgamation,” the central bank had said.

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The RBI had directed Yes Bank, the fifth largest private bank, that it should not grant or renew any loan or advance, make any investment, incur any liability or agree to disburse any payment or otherwise enter into any compromise or agreement and transfer or dispose of any of its properties or assets. However, it will be able to pay salaries to its over 20,000 employees, the central bank had said.

The financial position of Yes Bank has undergone a steady decline largely due to the bank’s inability to raise capital to address potential loan losses and resultant downgrades, triggering invocation of bond covenants by investors and withdrawal of deposits, the RBI had said.

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