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ICAI opposes RBI move allowing banks to restructure loans
April, 08th 2009

Audited reports of bank balance sheets this year may be replete with qualifications by auditors. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is opposed to the Reserve Bank allowing banks to restructure their loans for a second time, since this will understate the extent of bad loans. It has asked auditors to take their time in auditing bank balance sheets as also demand detailed disclosures on the extent of restructuring. CNBC-TV18's Latha Venkatesh and Vidhi Godiawala have more.

ICAI is clearly not happy with the goings on in Indian banks. The most immediate issue is the financial year ending and the pressure on auditors to complete their auditing quickly. It is unhappy with the fact that banks pressure their auditors to complete their work in a couple of weeks. ICAI says it has informed its CAs to take their time and do their audits thoroughly.

Uttam Agarwal, President, ICAI, said, "The pressure created by bankers on auditors to complete the audit is totally horrible. They have done appointments around March 20-30, and everyone started getting a call from April 3-5 to finish the audit. So, they not are taking this audit seriously."

There is a reason why the ICAI wants more time for auditing banks balance sheets. The Institute is unhappy with RBI's permission to banks to restructure loans for a second time. Banks have been asked to accept applications for restructuring loans from troubled borrowers till March 31, and they have until June 30 to restructure them. According to the ICAI, a mere request for restructuring cannot lead to it being classified as a standard asset. Banks have to give an undertaking that they have assessed the request, that it merits restructuring, and that they will it in 120 days.

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