Consider merging private RBL Bank with state-owned lender, says AIBEA

The government must protect the interests of depositors at and consider merging it with a state-owned one, said an industry trade union on Sunday after the central bank made management changes at the private lender.

RBL said last night that Vishwavir Ahuja, its managing director and chief executive officer, had gone on leave after the appointed Yogesh K Dayal as an additional director of the bank.

“We are worried and concerned about the developments that are taking place in the affairs of Ltd., the Kolhapur based private Bank,” said the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) in a letter to Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Action for RBL is important in light of the problems encountered by private lenders like YES Bank and Lakshmi Vilas Bank last year. RBL’s total advances have doubled in the last few years. From about Rs 29,000 crores in 2017, advances have crossed Rs 58,000 crore now, AIBEA said.

The bank’s Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPAs) of the Bank have swelled from only Rs 357 crore in 2017 to more than Rs 2,600 crore. Its operating profit has increased, but the bulk of it has been adjusted towards provision for bad loans. RBL’s net profit is very meagre, said C H Venkatachalam, general secretary of AIBEA.

There are also reports that RBL has been over indulging in retail credit, micro-financing and credit cards and consequently has burnt its finger resulting in weakening the financials, AIBEA said.

has assured investors that it is “well placed to execute its business plan and strategy as communicated during our earnings call dated October 28, 2021.”

“The business and financial trajectory continues to be on improving trend, post absorbing the challenges due to Covid 2 pandemic,” the bank said in filing with BSE.

RBL said its financials are “robust with healthy capital adequacy of 16.3 per cent, high levels of liquidity” as reflected through Liquidity Coverage Ratio of 155 per cent. The net non-performing assets (NPA) were stable at 2.14 per cent, for the quarter ended September 30, 2021. “In addition, the Bank has also improved the granularity of its deposits and advances,” it said.

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