In a boost to banks, which are facing rising asset quality issues, the Reserve Bank of India, on Wednesday, allowed such lenders to reverse the excess provision on sale of bad loans to their profit and loss account, provided the transaction took place before February 26, 2014.

The central bank had on the February 3 monetary policy day had said that it would issue the final guidelines on this front after banks requested it to include the provision to those sales took place before February 26, 2014, as well.

The move is aimed at incentivising banks to recover appropriate value in respect of NPAs (non-performing assets).
Almost all banks, including private sector players, have been reporting higher NPAs and lower profits as they have to make more provisions for bad loans, which crossed 5.5 per cent as at the end of December. Together with restructured loans, the total pain on the system is close to 12 per cent.

The new guidelines extending the sale period prior to February, 2014, will help banks report better numbers and, thus, take a little pain off their back. From April 1, banks will have to make full provision — 5 per cent of the bad asset — if they have restructured the loan, and the entire amount if the asset in corporate debt restructuring (CDR) turns bad.