Non- Performing Asset

An asset, including a leased asset, becomes non performing when it ceases to generate income for the bank. Hence, in a simple words a non performing asset (NPA) is a loan or an advance where;

– When interest and/ or instalment of principal remain overdue for a period of more than 90 days in respect of a term loan,

– The account remains ‘out of order’, in respect of an Overdraft/Cash Credit (OD/CC),

– The bill remains overdue for a period of more than 90 days in the case of bills purchased and discounted,

– The instalment of principal or interest thereon remains overdue for two crop seasons for short duration crops,

– The instalment of principal or interest thereon remains overdue for one crop season for long duration crops,

– The amount of liquidity facility remains outstanding for more than 90 days, in respect of a securitisation transaction undertaken in terms of guidelines on securitisation dated February 1, 2006.

– in respect of derivative transactions, the overdue receivables representing positive mark-to-market value of a derivative contract, if these remain unpaid for a period of 90 days from the specified due date for payment.

– The identification of NPA,in case of interest payments, banks should, classify an account as NPA only if the interest due and charged during any quarter is not serviced fully within 90 days from the end of the quarter.

– In addition, an account may also be classified as NPA in terms of paragraph 4.2.4 of the Master Circular. Which talks about accounts with temporary deficiencies

A. The classification of an asset as NPA should be based on the record of recovery. Bank should not classify an advance account as NPA merely due to the existence of some deficiencies which are temporary in nature such as non-availability of adequate drawing power based on the latest available stock statement, balance outstanding exceeding the limit temporarily, non-submission of stock statements and non-renewal of the limits on the due date, etc. In the matter of classification of accounts with such deficiencies banks may follow the following guidelines:

B. Banks should ensure that drawings in the working capital accounts are covered by the adequacy of current assets, since current assets are first appropriated in times of distress. Drawing power is required to be arrived at based on the stock statement which is current. However, considering the difficulties of large borrowers, stock statements relied upon by the banks for determining drawing power should not be older than three months. The outstanding in the account based on drawing power calculated from stock statements older than three months, would be deemed as irregular.

C. A working capital Borrowal account will become NPA if such irregular drawings are permitted in the account for a continuous period of 90 days even though the unit may be working or the borrower’s financial position is satisfactory.

D. Regular and ad hoc credit limits need to be reviewed/ regularised not later than three months from the due date/date of ad hoc sanction. In case of constraints such as non-availability of financial statements and other data from the borrowers, the branch should furnish evidence to show that renewal/ review of credit limits is already on and would be completed soon. In any case, delay beyond six months is not considered desirable as a general discipline. Hence, an account where the regular/ ad hoc credit limits have not been reviewed/ renewed within 180 days from the due date/ date of ad hoc sanction will be treated as NPA.

Income Recognition Policy

The policy of income recognition has to be objective and based on the record of recovery. Internationally income from non-performing assets (NPA) is not recognised on accrual basis but is booked as income only when it is actually received. Therefore, the banks should not charge and take to income account interest on any NPA. This will apply to Government guaranteed accounts also.

However, interest on advances against Term Deposits, National Savings Certificates (NSCs), Indira Vikas Patras (IVPs), Kisan Vikas Patras (KVPs) and Life policies may be taken to income account on the due date provided adequate margin is available in the accounts.

Fees and commissions earned by the banks as a result of renegotiations or rescheduling of outstanding debts should be recognised on an accrual basis over the period of time covered by the renegotiated or rescheduled extension of credit.

Reversal of income

If any advance, including bills purchased and discounted, becomes NPA, the entire interest accrued and credited to income account in the past periods, should be reversed if the same is not realised. This will apply to Government guaranteed accounts also.

In respect of NPAs, fees, commission and similar income that have accrued should cease to accrue in the current period and should be reversed with respect to past periods, if uncollected.

Appropriation of recovery in NPAs

Interest realised on NPAs may be taken to income account provided the credits in the accounts towards interest are not out of fresh/ additional credit facilities sanctioned to the borrower concerned.

In the absence of a clear agreement between the bank and the borrower for the purpose of appropriation of recoveries in NPAs (i.e. towards principal or interest due), banks should adopt an accounting principle and exercise the right of appropriation of recoveries in a uniform and consistent manner.

Interest Application

On an account turning NPA, banks should reverse the interest already charged and not collected by debiting Profit and Loss account, and stop further application of interest. However, banks may continue to record such accrued interest in a Memorandum account in their books. For the purpose of computing Gross Advances, interest recorded in the Memorandum account should not be taken into account. There is a prescribed format where every bank is required to classify the NPA levels.

Categories of NPAs

Banks are required to classify non-performing assets further into the following three categories based on the period for which the asset has remained non performing and the reliability of the dues:

Substandard Assets

With effect from March 31, 2005, a substandard asset would be one, which has remained NPA for a period less than or equal to 12 months. Such an asset will have well defined credit weaknesses that jeopardise the liquidation of the debt and are characterised by the distinct possibility that the banks will sustain some loss, if deficiencies are not corrected.

Doubtful Assets

With effect from March 31, 2005, an asset would be classified as doubtful if it has remained in the substandard category for a period of 12 months. A loan classified as doubtful has all the weaknesses inherent in assets that were classified as sub-standard, with the added characteristic that the weaknesses make collection or liquidation in full, – on the basis of currently known facts, conditions and values – highly questionable and improbable.

iii. Loss Assets

A loss asset is one where loss has been identified by the bank or internal or external auditors or the RBI inspection but the amount has not been written off wholly. In other words, such an asset is considered uncollectible and of such little value that its continuance as a bankable asset is not warranted although there may be some salvage or recovery value.

Guidelines for Classification of assets

Broadly speaking, classification of assets into above categories should be done taking into account the degree of well-defined credit weaknesses and the extent of dependence on collateral security for realisation of Dues.

Banks should establish appropriate internal systems (including technology enabled processes) for proper and timely identification of NPAs, especially in respect of high value accounts. The banks may fix a minimum cut off point to decide what would constitute a high value account depending upon their respective business levels. The cut-off point should be valid for the entire accounting year. Responsibility and validation levels for ensuring proper asset classification may be fixed by the banks. The system should ensure that doubts in asset classification due to any reason are settled through specified internal channels within one month from the date on which the account would have been classified as NPA as per extant guidelines.

Availability of security / net worth of borrower/ guarantor

The availability of security or net worth of borrower/ guarantor should not be taken into account for the purpose of treating an advance as NPA or otherwise, except to the extent provided as follows:

i) Accounts where there is erosion in the value of security/frauds committed by borrowers

i. In respect of accounts where there are potential threats for recovery on account of erosion in the value of security or non-availability of security and existence of other factors such as frauds committed by borrowers it will not be prudent that such accounts should go through various stages of asset classification. In cases of such serious credit impairment, the asset should be straightaway classified as doubtful or loss asset as appropriate:

a. Erosion in the value of security can be reckoned as significant when the realisable value of the security is less than 50 per cent of the value assessed by the bank or accepted by RBI at the time of last inspection, as the case may be. Such NPAs may be straightaway classified under doubtful category.

b. If the realisable value of the security, as assessed by the bank/ approved valuers/ RBI is less than 10 per cent of the outstanding in the Borrowal accounts, the existence of security should be ignored and the asset should be straightaway classified as loss asset.

ii) Provisioning norms in respect of all cases of fraud:

a. The entire amount due to the bank (irrespective of the quantum of security held against such assets), or for which the bank is liable (including in case of deposit accounts), is to be provided for over a period not exceeding four quarters commencing with the quarter in which the fraud has been detected;

b. However, where there has been delay, beyond the prescribed period, in reporting the fraud to the Reserve Bank, the entire provisioning is required to be made at once. In addition, Reserve Bank of India may also initiate appropriate supervisory action where there has been a delay by the bank in reporting a fraud, or provisioning there against.

Up gradation of loan accounts classified as NPAs

If arrears of interest and principal are paid by the borrower in the case of loan accounts classified as NPAs, the account should no longer be treated as non-performing and may be classified as ‘standard’ accounts. With regard to up gradation of a restructured/ rescheduled account which is classified as NPA contents of paragraphs 12.2 and 15.2 in the Part B of the circular will be applicable.

Accounts regularised near about the balance sheet date

The asset classification of Borrowal accounts where a solitary or a few credits are recorded before the balance sheet date should be handled with care and without scope for subjectivity. Where the account indicates inherent weakness on the basis of the data available, the account should be deemed as a NPA. In other genuine cases, the banks must furnish satisfactory evidence to the Statutory Auditors/Inspecting Officers about the manner of regularisation of the account to eliminate doubts on their performing status.

Asset Classification to be borrower-wise and not facility-wise

i) It is difficult to envisage a situation when only one facility to a borrower/one investment in any of the securities issued by the borrower becomes a problem credit/investment and not others. Therefore, all the facilities granted by a bank to a borrower and investment in all the securities issued by the borrower will have to be treated as NPA/NPI and not the particular facility/investment or part thereof which has become irregular.

ii) If the debits arising out of devolvement of letters of credit or invoked guarantees are parked in a separate account, the balance outstanding in that account also should be treated as a part of the borrower’s principal operating account for the purpose of application of prudential norms on income recognition, asset classification and provisioning.

iii) The bills discounted under LC favouring a borrower may not be classified as a Non-performing assets (NPA), when any other facility granted to the borrower is classified as NPA. However, in case documents under LC are not accepted on presentation or the payment under the LC is not made on the due date by the LC issuing bank for any reason and the borrower does not immediately make good the amount disbursed as a result of discounting of concerned bills, the outstanding bills discounted will immediately be classified as NPA with effect from the date when the other facilities had been classified as NPA.

Advances under consortium arrangements

Asset classification of accounts under consortium should be based on the record of recovery of the individual member banks and other aspects having a bearing on the recoverability of the advances. Where the remittances by the borrower under consortium lending arrangements are pooled with one bank and/or where the bank receiving remittances is not parting with the share of other member banks, the account will be treated as not serviced in the books of the other member banks and therefore, be treated as NPA. The banks participating in the consortium should, therefore, arrange to get their share of recovery transferred from the lead bank or get an express consent from the lead bank for the transfer of their share of recovery, to ensure proper asset classification in their respective books.

Advances against Term Deposits, NSCs, KVPs/IVPs, etc.

Advances against term deposits, NSCs eligible for surrender, IVPs, KVPs and life policies need not be treated as NPAs, provided adequate margin is available in the accounts. Advances against gold ornaments, government securities and all other securities are not covered by this exemption.

Loans with moratorium for payment of interest

i. In the case of bank finance given for industrial projects or for agricultural plantations etc. where moratorium is available for payment of interest, payment of interest becomes ‘due’ only after the moratorium or gestation period is over. Therefore, such amounts of interest do not become overdue and hence do not become NPA, with reference to the date of debit of interest. They become overdue after due date for payment of interest, if uncollected.

ii. In the case of housing loan or similar advances granted to staff members where interest is payable after recovery of principal, interest need not be considered as overdue from the first quarter onwards. Such loans/advances should be classified as NPA only when there is a default in repayment of instalment of principal or payment of interest on the respective due dates.

Agriculture Advances

i. A loan granted for short duration crops will be treated as NPA, if the instalment of principal or interest thereon remains overdue for two crop seasons. A loan granted for long duration crops will be treated as NPA, if the instalment of principal or interest thereon remains overdue for one crop season. For the purpose of these guidelines, “long duration” crops would be crops with crop season longer than one year and crops, which are not “long duration” crops would be treated as “short duration” crops. The crop season for each crop, which means the period up to harvesting of the crops rose, would be as determined by the State Level Bankers’ Committee in each State. Depending upon the duration of crops raised by an agriculturist, the above NPA norms would also be made applicable to agricultural term loans availed of by him. In respect of agricultural loans, other than those specified above and term loans given to non-agriculturists, identification of NPAs would be done on the same basis as non-agricultural advances, which, at present, is the 90 days delinquency norm. The above norms should be made applicable only to Farm Credit extended to agricultural activities as listed at paragraph III (1) of the Circular on Priority Sector Lending – Targets and Classification FIDD.CO.Plan.BC.54/04.09.01/ 2014-15 dated April 23, 2015.the lending to agriculture sector has been re-defined. The details are in a Chapter Agriculture Advances herein a guide.

ii. Where natural calamities impair the repaying capacity of agricultural borrowers for the purposes specified above banks may decide on their own as a relief measure conversion of the short-term production loan into a term loan or re-schedulement of the repayment period; and the sanctioning of fresh short-term loan, subject to guidelines contained in RBI circular FIDD.No.FSD.BC.52/ 05.10.001/2014-15 dated March 25, 2015.

iii. In such cases of conversion or re-schedulement, the term loan as well as fresh short-term loan may be treated as current dues and need not be classified as NPA. The asset classification of these loans would thereafter be governed by the revised terms & conditions and would be treated as NPA if interest and/or instalment of principal remain overdue for two crop seasons for short duration crops and for one crop season for long duration crops. For the purpose of these guidelines, “long duration” crops would be crops with crop season longer than one year and crops, which are not ‘long duration” would be treated as “short duration” crops.

iv. While fixing the repayment schedule in case of rural housing advances granted to agriculturists under Indira Awas Yojana and Golden Jubilee Rural Housing Finance Scheme, banks should ensure that the interest/instalment payable on such advances are linked to crop cycles.

Government Guaranteed advances

The credit facilities backed by guarantee of the Central Government though overdue may be treated as NPA only when the Government repudiates its guarantee when invoked. This exemption from classification of Government guaranteed advances as NPA is not for the purpose of recognition of income. The requirement of invocation of guarantee has been delinked for deciding the asset classification and provisioning requirements in respect of State Government guaranteed exposures. W.e.f 31st March 2006 State Government guaranteed Advances and investments in State Government guaranteed securities would attract asset classification and provisioning norms if interest and/or principal or any other amount due to the bank remains overdue for more than 90 days

Post Shipment Credit

i. In respect of post-shipment credit extended by the banks covering export of goods to countries for which the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation’s (ECGC) cover is available, EXIM Bank has introduced a guarantee-cum–refinance programme whereby, in the event of default, EXIM Bank will pay the guaranteed amount to the bank within a period of 30 days from the day the bank invokes the guarantee after the exporter has filed claim with ECGC.

ii. Accordingly, to the extent payment has been received from the EXIM Bank, the advance may not be treated as a non performing asset for asset classification and provisioning purposes.

Export Project Finance

i. In respect of export project finance, there could be instances where the actual importer has paid the dues to the bank abroad but the bank in turn is unable to remit the amount due to political developments such as war, strife, UN embargo, etc.

ii. In such cases, where the lending bank is able to establish through documentary evidence that the importer has cleared the dues in full by depositing the amount in the bank abroad before it turned into NPA in the books of the bank, but the importer’s country is not allowing the funds to be remitted due to political or other reasons, the asset classification may be made after a period of one year from the date the amount was deposited by the importer in the bank abroad.

Credit Card Accounts

(i) In credit card accounts, the amount spent is billed to the card users through a monthly statement with a definite due date for repayment. Banks give an option to the card users to pay either the full amount or a fraction of it, i.e., minimum amount due, on the due date and roll-over the balance amount to the subsequent months’ billing cycle.

(ii) A credit card account will be treated as non-performing asset if the minimum amount due, as mentioned in the statement, is not paid fully within 90 days from the next statement date. The gap between two statements should not be more than a month.

(iii) Banks should follow this uniform method of determining over-due status for credit card accounts while reporting to credit information companies and for the purpose of levying of penal charges, viz. late payment charges, etc., if any.

 Advances covered by ECGC guarantee

In the case of advances classified as doubtful and guaranteed by ECGC, provision should be made only for the balance in excess of the amount guaranteed by the Corporation. Further, while arriving at the provision required to be made for doubtful assets, realisable value of the securities should first be deducted from the outstanding balance in respect of the amount guaranteed by the Corporation and then provision made.

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Author was Member of ICAI- Capacity Building Committee 2010-11 and ICAI- Committee for Direct Taxes 2011-12 and can be reached at email or on phone Phone: 0 1 2 1-2 6 6 1 9 4 6. Cell: 9 8 3 7 5 1 5 4 3 2 having office at 1 1 5, Chappel Street, Meerut Cantt, UP, INDIA) View Full Profile

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