Tightening the screws: what the RBI’s new PCA framework means for large NBFCs
RBI and PCA are on their newer pursuit of correcting the discrepancies in the Indian financial sector. Only now, RBI is after the NBFCs in the financial sector which are usually overlooked and underappreciated. The last prompt corrective action initiated by the RBI was against the cooperative banks in the financial year 2002.
In the financial year 2021, we will effectively witness India’s central bank releasing a comprehensive prompt corrective action framework for the non-banking finance companies with the aim to strategically align the regulation governing the country’s shadow lenders with that of the commercial banks.
It is to be noted that according to the RBI, the new framework will come into effect from October 1, 2022.
Having mentioned, that the last prompt corrective action was taken in the financial year 2002, what has led the RBI to initiate another this time around?
The prime reason for the same is the burgeoning importance of the NBFCs as a legitimate source of funds that has garnered prominence and popularity markedly in the Indian financial ecosystem.
Given the arduous nature of bank loans that consumers encounter, several shadow lenders have managed to entice people into its gambit of lending leading to faster expansion of operations in the financing world. One can also state that it has been also possible due to the lower regulatory constraints than were imposed on the NBFCs, which made lending a profitable and easy business.
Another reason for a successful model of NBC’s lending is also the fact that NBFCs also take on riskier loans compared to Commercial banks which make them tantalizing enough for the borrowers. Thus, one can strongly state that banks adverse nature towards risky borrowers has led to its slow burial as a lender in the financing world.
Additionally, it is to be noted that it is emphatically and strategically no longer uncommon for NBFCs to tie up with banks and effectively engage in practices of co-lending.
This model works upon the framework where two entities lend collaboratively based on pre-determined disbursement ratios. Here, it is worthy of mentioning that such ratios usually encounter NBFCs often lending the smaller proportion of a loan.
This leads to a humungous exposure of banks to high risk which consequently is much less appreciated and unwarranted for its financial health. Thus, given the aforementioned arguments, one can conjure that the NBFCs have been expanding at a warp rate in the economy.
So much so, that its collaboration on risker loans with banks is indirectly also affecting the financial health and balance sheets of the banking sector. Given, the already battered and odious condition of the banking sector, such discrepancies need to be rectified.
Though all the aforementioned warnings seem risker enough, these don’t even come close to NBFCs’ latest love affair with the digital lending platforms. Lately, according to an interesting turn of events, NBFCs have also established partnerships with digital lenders in the market.
This can be seen as tapping into the pool of unstable lenders in the market, which at best can be described as the genesis of financial problems in the banking and financial sector in India. Digital lending platforms are usually incapable of lending on their own, this is due to their regulatory constraints. Thus, given its regulatory and financial curtailments, such lending platforms usually enable NBFCs to effectively expand their borrower bases beyond physical channels.
Thus, given the immensely burgeoning inter-connectedness of NBFCs within the financial ecosystem in India, the central bank is duly seeking to reduce risky behaviors in the economy.
This is also the need of the hour due to the fact that India is still struggling with the handling of the pandemic, and any financial fallout will spell doom for the economy. Thus, to emphatically ensure that India’s shadow lenders’ balance sheets remain strongly resilient, we will witness the initiation of prompt corrective action against them.
Given the elaborate discussion of the inherent faulty nature of the NBFC’s; lending system what has prompted the RBI to go after the NBFCs in the middle of the pandemic? it is to be noted that lending risks in the NBFC sector were made abundantly clear in recent years.
This has been due to the collapse of Dewan Housing Finance Ltd, IL&FS, Anil Ambani controlled Reliance Capital, and Srei Group. one cannot deny the fact that the collapse of one NBFC leads to a ripple effect on the economy, thus such contagion effects need to be curtailed before they infect the wider ecosystem.
Talking about the PCA mandate, it has been put in place by the RBI “to further strengthen the supervisory tools” that are increasingly relevant to the NBFC sector. According to the RBI, the NBFC’s financial health will be monitored on three bases asset quality, capital, and leverage. Thus, certain specific thresholds have been laid by the apex bank, which if NBFC breaches, will lead to the initiation of action against it.
Based on the immediate and specific nature and severity of the breach, the RBI will suitably force the NBFC to halt their certain expansions, limit the disbursal of loans to certain risky lenders, suspend their dividend distribution or raise capital or expedite recoveries. Quite evidently, the RBI might also seek to merge two entities as a resolution, if the financial health comes across as too risky.
As far as NBFCs go compared to commercial banks, the reasons to worry are meager as the majority of mid or large NBFCs have comfortable capitalization levels. For those, that might have risker balance sheets, plenty of time has been provided to strengthen their balance sheets. Thus, when it comes to NBFCs odds of any major corrective action are way less compared to the commercial banks.