PSU banks write off Rs 55,356 crore in six months

December 4, 2017

INDIA’S STATE-OWNED banks have written off loans worth Rs 55,356 crore in the first six months of fiscal 2017-18, according to data compiled by credit rating agency ICRA, as banks attempt to clean up their balance sheets after a string of defaults by firms and promoters in the wake of the economic slowdown.

The write-off in the last six months — 54 per cent higher than the Rs 35,985 crore written off in the same period last year — comes at a time when banks are struggling to resolve many cases of repayment of loans and recover money stuck with corporate defaulters through insolvency proceedings.

Figures obtained by The Indian Express from the RBI through the Right to Information (RTI) Act for the last decade show that banks had written off  Rs 2,28,253 crore in nine years — from fiscal 2007-08 to 2015-16. The central bank did not provide data for the subsequent period.

Separately, responding to a questionnaire from The Indian Express, ICRA said that write-offs amounted to Rs 1,32,659 crore in 2016-17 and the first six months of 2017-18.

This means the the total write-off in the last ten years is now over Rs 3,60,000 crore.

Given the current trend, the total write-off in fiscal 2018 is estimated to top Rs 1 lakh crore, bankers said. PSU banks wrote off Rs 25,573 crore in the June quarter and Rs 29,783 crore in the quarter to September, the highest in any quarter, ICRA said

The RBI had earlier explained that writing off of non-performing assets or bad loans is a regular exercise carried out by banks to clean up their balance sheets.

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