The Financial Express

Some banks failing in provisioning against ballooning bad loans

Provision shortfalls against classified, unclassified loans jump 24pc last year

| Updated: March 20, 2018 12:05:01

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Some banks are failing to keep requisite provisions against both classified and unclassified loans as the volumes of such problem credits kept ballooning, sources said.

The findings came as the overall shortfall in provisions against classified and unclassified loans in the country's banking system jumped by nearly 24 per cent or Tk 12.97 billion in the last calendar year.

Officials said some banks ran short on the provisions following higher classified loans along with conditional rescheduling of outstanding credits.

Nine banks out of 57 failed to keep requisite provisions against loans, particularly classified ones, during the period under review, according to the officials.

Of them, three are state-owned commercial banks (SoCBs), five private commercial banks (PCBs) and the rest is development-finance institution (DFI).

In 2016, only six had failed to keep requisite provisions against loans. Of them, three were SoCBs and the rest PCBs, the Bangladesh Bank (BB) data showed.

The central bank is set to seek time-bound action plans from the banks concerned on case-to-case basis to reduce their provisioning shortfalls, the officials hinted.

The amount of provisioning shortfalls rose to Tk 67.67 billion as on December 31 last year from Tk 54.70 billion the same day of the previous year, according to the central bank's latest statistics.

It was Tk 42.83 billion as on December 31, 2015.

Talking to the FE, a senior BB official said some banks maintained more provisions against their conditional rescheduling of loans.

A large amount of non-performing loans (NPLs) has been rescheduled on some conditions set by the central bank to minimise risks, he explained.

Such rescheduled credits were treated as unclassified ones, but the banks were asked to maintain provisions in accordance with previous status of the loans.

"A portion of rescheduled loans has already turned into classified ones again that also pushed up the volume of provisioning shortfall," M A Halim Chowdhury, managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of Pubali Bank Limited, told the FE Sunday.

The senior banker also advised the banks to reduce the volume of default loans through boosting their recovery drives to improve their financial health.

The amount of classified loans in the county's banking system rose by 19.51 per cent to Tk 743.03 billion as on December 31 last year from Tk 621.72 billion a year before.

Under the existing BB regulations, the banks have to keep 0.25 per cent to 5.0 per cent provisions against general-category loans, 20 per cent provision against substandard category, 50 per cent against doubtful loans and 100 per cent against bad or loss category.

The banks normally keep requisite provisions against their unclassified and NPLs from their operating profits in a bid to mitigate financial risks, according to another BB official.

"The banks may decrease their provisioning shortfall through reducing classified loans or enhancing eligible collaterals against the credits," the central banker explained.

He also said the banks will have to maintain provisioning against all types of loans to protect the interests of their (banks) depositors.

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