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Govt ropes in private players for ideas
March, 05th 2016

The government has roped in top executives from the private sector for the brainstorming sessions at Gyan Sangam 2.0, the two-day retreat of public sector banks that kicked off in Gurgaon on Friday, primarily aimed at consolidation and bad loan management in the sector.

The conclave, organised by the Finance Ministry, has been divided into five working groups for brainstorming on four key issues. The government has already short-listed the reform agenda. The five selected issues are: restructuring/ mergers & acquisitions, NPA management/ recovery, technology and digital, credit growth and risk management. Senior executives from HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, UTI, Edelweiss, L&T Finance and Crisil will be part of the discussions.

“The five working groups are likely to continue their work even after the conclusion of the retreat. Some ideas about consolidation of PSU banks are expected to take shape after deliberations,” said a top banking source who did not want to be identified. Animesh Chauhan, MD&CEO, Oriental Bank of Commerce, will head the working group on restructuring and M&A. Apart from MDs and EDs of nine PSU banks, it will have external experts like Bahram N Vakil, senior partner, AZB & Partners, Sanjay Nayar, CEO, KKR, and Leo Puri, MD, UTI Mutual Fund.

The group on NPA management is headed by Rajeev Rishi, CMD, Central Bank of India, Rashesh Shah, Edelweiss Group Chairman, and Y M Deosthalee, Chairman, L&T Finance Holding Co will be external experts. Arundhati Bhattacharya will head the technology working group which will have Rupa Kudva, CEO, Omidyar, Manish Tiwari, CISO, Microsoft, Kiran Ramaswamy, Head, Gartner India, V Vaidyanathan, CMD, Capital First and Manish Khera, CEO, Airtel Money will be external experts.

The working group on credit growth will be headed by Rakesh Sharma, MD&CEO, Canara Bank, with NS Kannan, ED, ICICI Bank, Deepak Kapoor, chairman and territory senior partner, PWC, and Satish Pillai, MD & CEO, CIBIL as external members. The group on risk management headed by Arun Tiwari, CMD, UBI, will have Rajiv Sabharwal of ICICI Bank, Ashu Suyash, MD & CEO, CRISIL, Paresh Sukhantkar, DMD, HDFC Bank and Mohan Bhatia, Wipro, Bengaluru as external members.

While McKinsey will be the facilitator of deliberations, participation of private sector executives is expected to give a new push to the government’s efforts to put PSU banks back on track. “Consolidation should happen in the banking sector. It can be done on the following lines. SBI, BoI and BoB should be merged to be among the largest banks in the world. The second step is merger of Canara Bank, Indian Bank, BoM, IOB and UBI to form the second largest bank. PNB, Vijaya Bank, Andhra Bank and IDBI can be merged to form the third largest. Allahabad Bank, Central Bank, Corporation Bank and P&S Bank should be the fourth largest. OBC, Syndicate Bank, UCO Bank and Dena Bank can become the fifth,” said Ramnath Pradeep, former chairman of Corporation Bank.

The Bankers’ Retreat is taking place at a time when gross NPAs are expected to jump 31.48 per cent in the fiscal ending March 2016 to Rs 426,400 crore from Rs 324,300 crore. On top of this, banks are expected to show restructured loans worth Rs 615,000 crore for the year ending March 2016. This include standard restructuring loan of

Rs 502,000 crore and NPA restructuring of Rs 113,100 crore. The performance of PSU banks had gone for toss after the first Gyan Sangam in Pune on January 2, 2015 and most of them made huge losses in third quarter.
The government has already indicated its dilution plan in IDBI Bank where it currently holds over 80 per cent stake. It’s planning to do an Axis Bank like transformation in the case of IDBI Bank.

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