Data on trends and progress in the banking sector 2015-16 indicates that the economy is not that robust as touted by the Modi government
~By Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr
The growth in the banking sector for 2015-16—according to RBI’s “Report on the Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2015-16”—fell to 7.7 per cent in 2015-16, from 9.7 per cent in 2014-15.
As the banks, especially the public sector ones, had to provide for the “delinquent loans”, the credit and advances, which is an indirect marker of economic activity, fell to a dismal 2.1 per cent in 2015-16 from 7.4 per cent in 2014-15.
Interestingly, the Current Account and Savings Account (CASA) deposits with private sector banks as well as foreign banks grew better than those with the public sector banks. The growth of CASA deposits with private sector banks jumped to an impressive three per cent—from over 16 per cent to over 19 per cent.
While the Credit-Deposit (C-D) ratio of the banking sector as a whole remained static at 78 per cent, the C-D ratio of the private sector banks stood at 90.3 per cent.
The banking sector on the whole showed declining earnings on interest and non-interest incomes. It was mainly due to slowdown in the growth of credit. Though the sector is not in the red, profits fell by 60 per cent. The private sector banks and foreign banks earned net profits, but the public sector banks incurred a loss of Rs 180 billion, and net losses amounting to 148 per cent.
But the priority sector lending—which includes weaker sections, small and medium enterprises, agriculture and housing— showed a marked improvement, increasing from 9.3 per cent in 2014-15 to 16 per cent in 2015-16. The target for the priority sector lending was 40 per cent. The public sector banks achieved 39.3 per cent, private sector banks logged 45.1 per cent and foreign banks showed 35.3 per cent.
The recovery of non-performing assets (NPAs) for all the banks fell from Rs 307.92 billion in 2014-15 to Rs 227.68 billion in 2015-16. The public sector banks could recover only Rs 1,897.57 billon in 2015-16, compared to Rs 278.49 billion the previous year.
The report notes that recovery was better through the Lok Adalats and Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) than through the SARFAESI (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002) channel. The recovery through SARFAESI reduced from Rs 256 billion in 2014-15 to Rs 131.79 billion in 2015-16.
Despite a slowdown in credit growth, the loan portfolio reveals an interesting profile. Loans in the housing sector accounted for 52 per cent, up by 16.4 per cent over the previous year, followed by personal loans, 29.8 per cent, which include educational loans, while auto loans stood at 11.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, the credit sensitive sectors, including capital and real estate, accounted for 20 per cent of the loans. Foreign banks lent 27.7 per cent, which is more than private banks, which stood at 26.3 per cent. The public sector banks loans in this sector were the lowest, at 16.9 per cent. An overwhelming chunk of the loans, 92.5 per cent, in this segment went to the real estate.
The ownership pattern of the banks shows that while the government maintains a majority stake in the public sector banks, 51 per cent, the non-resident shareholding in the PSBs, 11.9 per cent, contrasted with 72.7 per cent in the private sector banks.
Lead Picture: Reserve Bank of India New Delhi. Photo: UNI