INTRODUCTION: Credit appraisal means an investigation/assessment done by the bank prior before providing any loans & advances/project finance & also checks the commercial, financial & technical viability of the project proposed its funding pattern & further checks the primary & collateral security cover available for recovery of such funds.
A snapshot of the banking industry:
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), as the central bank of the country, closely monitors developments in the whole financial sector.
The banking sector is dominated by Scheduled Commercial Banks (SBCs). As at end-March 2002, there were 296 Commercial banks operating in India. This included 27 Public Sector Banks (PSBs), 31 Private, 42 Foreign and 196 Regional Rural Banks. Also, there were 67 scheduled co-operative banks consisting of 51 scheduled urban co-operative banks and 16 scheduled state co-operative banks.
Scheduled commercial banks touched, on the deposit front, a growth of 14% as against 18% registered in the previous year. And on advances, the growth was 14.5% against 17.3% of the earlier year.
Higher provisioning norms, tighter asset classification norms, dispensing with the concept of ‘past due’ for recognition of NPAs, lowering of ceiling on exposure to a single borrower and group exposure etc., are among the measures in order to improve the banking sector.
A minimum stipulated Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) was introduced to strengthen the ability of banks to absorb losses and the ratio has subsequently been raised from 8% to 9%. It is proposed to hike the CAR to 12% by 2004 based on the Basle Committee recommendations.
Retail Banking is the new mantra in the banking sector. The home loans alone account for nearly two-third of the total retail portfolio of the bank. According to one estimate, the retail segment is expected to grow at 30-40% in the coming years.
Net banking, phone banking, mobile banking, ATMs and bill payments are the new buzz words that banks are using to lure customers.
With a view to provide an institutional mechanism for sharing of information on borrowers / potential borrowers by banks and Financial Institutions, the Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd. (CIBIL) was set up in August 2000. The Bureau provides a framework for collecting, processing and sharing credit information on borrowers of credit institutions. SBI and HDFC are the promoters of the CIBIL.
The RBI is now planning to transfer of its stakes in the SBI, NHB and National bank for Agricultural and Rural Development to the private players. Also, the Government has sought to lower its holding in PSBs to a minimum of 33% of total capital by allowing them to raise capital from the market.
Banks are free to acquire shares, convertible debentures of corporate and units of equity-oriented mutual funds, subject to a ceiling of 5% of the total outstanding advances (including commercial paper) as on March 31 of the previous year.
The finance ministry spelt out structure of the government-sponsored ARC called the Asset Reconstruction Company (India) Limited (ARCIL), this pilot project of the ministry would pave way for smoother functioning of the credit market in the country. The government will hold 49% stake and private players will hold the rest 51%- the majority being held by ICICI Bank (24.5%).
Reforms in the banking sector:
The first phase of financial reforms resulted in the nationalization of 14 major banks in 1969 and resulted in a shift from Class banking to Mass banking. This in turn resulted in a significant growth in the geographical coverage of banks. Every bank has to earmark a minimum percentage of their loan portfolio to sectors identified as “priority sectors”. The manufacturing sector also grew during the 1970s in protected environs and the banking sector was a critical source. The next wave of reforms saw the nationalization of 6 more commercial banks in 1980. Since then the number scheduled commercial banks increased four-fold and the number of banks branches increased eight-fold.