NPAs Expected To Increase In First Half Of 2021: FICCI-IBA Survey
A motorcyclist and passenger travel past branches of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and PNB, in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

NPAs Expected To Increase In First Half Of 2021: FICCI-IBA Survey

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Asset quality of banks, which saw some improvement in the second half of 2020, is likely to worsen during the first six months of 2021, according to a survey.

The findings are part of the 12th round of bankers' survey carried out by FICCI-IBA between July and December 2020.

The survey was conducted on 20 banks, including public sector, private sector and foreign banks, representing about 59% of the banking industry, as classified by asset size.

In the current round of the survey, half of the respondent banks reported a decline in non-performing assets during the second half of 2020. About 78% of participating state-run banks have cited a reduction in NPA levels. "However, in terms of outlook, nearly 68% of respondent bankers expect the NPA levels to be above 10% in the first half of 2021," the survey showed.

Close to 37% of respondents expect NPA levels to be upwards of 12%. The Reserve Bank of India's Financial Stability Report, released in January this year, showed that gross non-performing assets of banks may rise to 13.5% by September 2021, under the baseline stress scenario.

Some of the high NPA risk sectors identified by majority of respondent bankers in the current round of survey include tourism and hospitality, MSME, aviation and restaurants, the survey showed.

Around 55% of respondents believe NPAs to rise substantially in the tourism and hospitality sector, while another 45% reported that NPAs are likely to increase moderately in this sector. Another high NPA risk sector reported in the current round of survey is the MSME sector, with 84% respondents expecting an increase in NPAs in this sector. Close to 89% respondents also expect the restaurant sector to see an increase in NPAs, though only 26% expect NPAs to increase substantially in this segment, it showed.

The survey revealed that there was a significant increase in the requests for one-time restructuring for MSMEs, announced by the RBI in August last year. "An overwhelming 85% of the respondent banks have cited an increase in requests for restructuring of advances as against 39% in the last round, it said. The long-term credit demand has been growing for sectors such as infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and food processing," the findings showed.

"Particularly for the pharma sector, 45% of the respondents have indicated an increase in long term loans in the current round of survey as against 29% in the previous round, it showed. Over half of the respondents indicated that they did not avail funds under on-tap targeted long-term repo operations while about 33% said that TLTRO funds were deployed completely in securities issued by NBFCs/MFIs,” the survey showed.

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