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Laxmi Vilas Bank joins list of failed banks

Summary:
Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) has been under trouble for quite some time now. It has been in talks with Clix Capital for raising capital but nothing seemed to have worked. At the end, Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) has failed and RBI had to impose a moratorium. The financial position of The Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd. (the bank) has undergone a steady decline with the bank incurring continuous losses over the last three years, eroding its net-worth. In absence of any viable strategic plan, declining advances and mounting non-performing assets (NPAs), the losses are expected to continue. The bank has not been able to raise adequate capital to address issues around its negative net-worth and continuing losses. Further, the bank is also experiencing continuous withdrawal of deposits and low levels of

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Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) has been under trouble for quite some time now. It has been in talks with Clix Capital for raising capital but nothing seemed to have worked.

At the end, Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) has failed and RBI had to impose a moratorium.

The financial position of The Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd. (the bank) has undergone a steady decline with the bank incurring continuous losses over the last three years, eroding its net-worth. In absence of any viable strategic plan, declining advances and mounting non-performing assets (NPAs), the losses are expected to continue. The bank has not been able to raise adequate capital to address issues around its negative net-worth and continuing losses. Further, the bank is also experiencing continuous withdrawal of deposits and low levels of liquidity. It has also experienced serious governance issues and practices in the recent years which have led to deterioration in its performance. The bank was placed under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework in September 2019 considering the breach of PCA thresholds as on March 31, 2019.

The Reserve Bank had been continually engaging with the bank’s management to find ways to augment the capital funds to comply with the capital adequacy norms. The bank management had indicated to the Reserve Bank that it was in talks with certain investors. However, it failed to submit any concrete proposal to Reserve Bank and the bank’s efforts to enhance its capital through amalgamation of a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) with itself appears to have reached a dead end. As such, the bank- led efforts through market mechanisms have not fructified. As bank-led and market-led revival efforts are a preferred option over a regulatory resolution, the Reserve Bank had made all possible efforts to facilitate such a process and gave enough opportunities to the bank’s management to draw up a credible revival plan, or an amalgamation scheme, which did not materialise. In the meantime, the bank was facing regular outflow of liquidity.

After taking into consideration these developments, the Reserve Bank has come to the conclusion that in the absence of a credible revival plan, with a view to protect depositors’ interest and in the interest of financial and banking stability, there is no alternative but to apply to the Central Government for imposing a moratorium under section 45 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. Accordingly, after considering the Reserve Bank’s request, the Central Government has imposed moratorium for thirty days effective from today.

RBI has also quickly identified DBS Bank as an amalgamating bank.

The Reserve Bank of India has today placed in public domain a draft scheme of amalgamation of The Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd. (LVB) with DBS Bank India Ltd. (DBIL), a banking company incorporated in India under Companies Act, 2013, and having its Registered Office at New Delhi.

DBIL is a wholly owned subsidiary of DBS Bank Ltd, Singapore (“DBS”), which in turn is a subsidiary of Asia’s leading financial services group, DBS Group Holdings Limited and has the advantage of a strong parentage. It has been issued a banking license to operate as banking company under Section 22 (1) of the B R Act, on October 4, 2018. DBIL has a healthy balance sheet, with strong capital support. As on June 30, 2020, its total Regulatory Capital was ₹7,109 crore (against Capital of ₹7,023 crore as on March 31, 2020). As on June 30, 2020, its GNPAs and NNPAs were low at 2.7% and 0.5% respectively; Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) was comfortable at 15.99% (against requirement of 9%); and Common Equity Tier-1 (CET-1) capital at 12.84% was well above the requirement of 5.5%. Although the DBIL is well capitalised, it will bring in additional capital of ₹2500 crore upfront, to support credit growth of the merged entity. Owing to comfortable level of capital, the combined balance sheet of DBIL would remain healthy after the proposed amalgamation, with CRAR at 12.51% and CET-1 capital at 9.61%, without taking into account the infusion of additional capital.

The Reserve Bank invites suggestions and objections, if any, from members, depositors and other creditors of transferor bank (LVB) and transferee bank (DBIL), on the draft scheme, which may be sent to the address mentioned in the “Notice”. 

As this scheme is debated and so on, RBI has superseded the Board:

In exercise of the powers conferred under Sub-section (1) of Section 36 A C A of the Banking Regulation Act 1949, the Reserve Bank has, in consultation with Central Government, superseded the Board of Directors of The Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd. for a period of 30 days owing to serious deterioration in the financial position of the bank. This has been done to protect the depositors’ interest. Shri T. N. Manoharan, former Non Executive Chairman of Canara Bank has been appointed as the Administrator under Sub-section (2) of Section 36 A C A of the Act.

The other Old Private Sector Sector Banks should wake up.

Amol Agrawal
I am currently pursuing my PhD in economics. I have work-ex of nearly 10 years with most of those years spent figuring economic research in Mumbai’s financial sector.

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