The cash-starved real estate sector could well find the going tougher. Smarting under the allegations of bribery against some its executives for granting loans to realty firms, banks are contemplating whether to bar roll-over of the loans of these firms. The roll-over scheme allows companies to reset their loan amounts with a new repayment schedule and lower interest rates during the initial stage.

An official source said no final decision has been taken on the issue as yet. The banks are also under direction by the finance ministry to look into their level of non-performing assets.

RBI governor D Subbarao has said the central bank would look into the issue.

Public sector banks, in 2008-09, had decided to allow real estate firms to restructure their debt in a bid to keep their balance sheets clean and control the level of non performing assets. The central bank had provided a window to these real estate firms to roll over their loans as the sector was one of the worst affected by the financial crisis.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has asked banks to carry out an immediate assessment of their NPAs, documentation of the same and adherence to banking guidelines. The government has underlined the need to strengthen NPA monitoring and its management.

The real estate sector has an estimated debt of about Rs 75,000 crore of which least Rs 25,000 crore is coming up for repayment in the current fiscal.

A senior executive of Central Bank of India, meanwhile, said that the bank last Thursday rejected a Rs 100-crore loan application from a real estate company, thanks to the scam.

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September 2021