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Indian Banking Industry
Scope eKnowledge Center Pvt Ltd, January 2001, Pages: 53
The Indian Banking industry, which is governed by the Banking Regulation Act of India, 1949 can be broadly classified into two major categories, non-scheduled banks and scheduled banks. Scheduled banks comprise commercial banks and the co-operative banks. In terms of ownership, commercial banks can be further grouped into nationalized banks, the State Bank of India and its group banks, regional rural banks and private sector banks (the old/ new domestic and foreign). These banks have over 67,000 branches spread across the country.
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 had 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 of scheduled commercial banks increased four-fold and the number of bank branches increased eight-fold.
After the second phase of financial sector reforms and liberalization of the sector in the early nineties, the Public Sector Banks (PSB) s found it extremely difficult to compete with the new private sector banks and the foreign banks. The new private sector banks first made their appearance after the guidelines permitting them were issued in January 1993. Eight new private sector banks are presently in operation. These banks due to their late start have access to state-of-the-art technology, which in turn helps them to save on manpower costs and provide better services.
During the year 2000, the State Bank Of India (SBI) and its 7 associates accounted for a 25 percent share in deposits and 28.1 percent share in credit. The 20 nationalized banks accounted for 53.2 percent of the deposits and 47.5 percent of credit during the same period. The share of foreign banks (numbering 42), regional rural banks and other scheduled commercial banks accounted for 5.7 percent, 3.9 percent and 12.2 percent respectively in deposits and 8.41 percent, 3.14 percent and 12.85 percent respectively in credit during the year 2000.
The industry is currently in a transition phase. On the one hand, the PSBs, which are the mainstay of the Indian Banking system are in the process of shedding their flab in terms of excessive manpower, excessive non Performing Assets (Npas) and excessive governmental equity, while on the other hand the private sector banks are consolidating themselves through mergers and acquisitions.
PSBs, which currently account for more than 78 percent of total banking industry assets are saddled with NPAs (a mind-boggling Rs 830 billion in 2000), falling revenues from traditional sources, lack of modern technology and a massive workforce while the new private sector banks are forging ahead and rewriting the traditional banking business model by way of their sheer innovation and service. The PSBs are of course currently working out challenging strategies even as 20 percent of their massive employee strength has dwindled in the wake of the successful Voluntary Retirement Schemes (VRS) schemes.
The private players however cannot match the PSB’s great reach, great size and access to low cost deposits. Therefore one of the means for them to combat the PSBs has been through the merger and acquisition (M& A) route. Over the last two years, the industry has witnessed several such instances. For instance, Hdfc Bank’s merger with Times Bank Icici Bank’s acquisition of ITC Classic, Anagram Finance and Bank of Madura. Centurion Bank, Indusind Bank, Bank of Punjab, Vysya Bank are said to be on the lookout. The UTI bank- Global Trust Bank merger however opened a pandora’s box and brought about the realization that all was not well in the functioning of many of the private sector banks.
Private sector Banks have pioneered internet banking, phone banking, anywhere banking, mobile banking, debit cards, Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and combined various other services and integrated them into the mainstream banking arena, while the PSBs are still grappling with disgruntled employees in the aftermath of successful VRS schemes. Also, following India’s commitment to the W To agreement in respect of the services sector, foreign banks, including both new and the existing ones, have been permitted to open up to 12 branches a year with effect from 1998-99 as against the earlier stipulation of 8 branches.
Talks of government diluting their equity from 51 percent to 33 percent in November 2000 has also opened up a new opportunity for the takeover of even the PSBs. The FDI rules being more rationalized in Q1FY02 may also pave the way for foreign banks taking the M& A route to acquire willing Indian partners.
Meanwhile the economic and corporate sector slowdown has led to an increasing number of banks focusing on the retail segment. Many of them are also entering the new vistas of Insurance. Banks with their phenomenal reach and a regular interface with the retail investor are the best placed to enter into the insurance sector. Banks in India have been allowed to provide fee-based insurance services without risk participation, invest in an insurance company for providing infrastructure and services support and set up of a separate joint-venture insurance company with risk participation.
Aggregate Performance of the Banking Industry
Aggregate deposits of scheduled commercial banks increased at a compounded annual average growth rate (Cagr) of 17.8 percent during 1969-99, while bank credit expanded at a Cagr of 16.3 percent per annum. Banks’ investments in government and other approved securities recorded a Cagr of 18.8 percent per annum during the same period.
In FY01 the economic slowdown resulted in a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of only 6.0 percent as against the previous year’s 6.4 percent. The WPI Index (a measure of inflation) increased by 7.1 percent as against 3.3 percent in FY00. Similarly, money supply (M3) grew by around 16.2 percent as against 14.6 percent a year ago.
The growth in aggregate deposits of the scheduled commercial banks at 15.4 percent in FY01 percent was lower than that of 19.3 percent in the previous year, while the growth in credit by SCBs slowed down to 15.6 percent in FY01 against 23 percent a year ago.
The industrial slowdown also affected the earnings of listed banks. The net profits of 20 listed banks dropped by 34.43 percent in the quarter ended March 2001. Net profits grew by 40.75 percent in the first quarter of 2000-2001, but dropped to 4.56 percent in the fourth quarter of 2000-2001.
On the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) front while most banks managed to fulfill the norms, it was a feat achieved with its own share of difficulties. The CAR, which at present is 9.0 percent, is likely to be hiked to 12.0 percent by the year 2004 based on the Basle Committee recommendations. Any bank that wishes to grow its assets needs to also shore up its capital at the same time so that its capital as a percentage of the risk-weighted assets is maintained at the stipulated rate. While the IPO route was a much-fancied one in the early ‘90s, the current scenario doesn’t look too attractive for bank majors.
Consequently, banks have been forced to explore other avenues to shore up their capital base. While some are wooing foreign partners to add to the capital others are employing the M& A route. Many are also going in for right issues at prices considerably lower than the market prices to woo the investors.
Interest Rate Scene
The two years, post the East Asian crises in 1997-98 saw a climb in the global interest rates. It was only in the later half of FY01 that the US Fed cut interest rates. India has however remained more or less insulated. The past 2 years in our country was characterized by a mounting intention of the Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) to steadily reduce interest rates resulting in a narrowing differential between global and domestic rates.
The RBI has been affecting bank rate and CRR cuts at regular intervals to improve liquidity and reduce rates. The only exception was in July 2000 when the RBI increased the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to stem the fall in the rupee against the dollar. The steady fall in the interest rates resulted in squeezed margins for the banks in general.
After the first phase and second phase of financial reforms, in the 1980s commercial banks began to function in a highly regulated environment, with administered interest rate structure, quantitative restrictions on credit flows, high reserve requirements and reservation of a significant proportion of lendable resources for the priority and the government sectors. The restrictive regulatory norms led to the credit rationing for the private sector and the interest rate controls led to the unproductive use of credit and low levels of investment and growth. The resultant ‘financial repression’ led to decline in
productivity and efficiency and erosion of profitability of the banking sector in general.
This was when the need to develop a sound commercial banking system was felt. This was worked out mainly with the help of the recommendations of the Committee on the Financial System (Chairman: Shri M. Narasimham), 1991. The resultant financial sector reforms called for interest rate flexibility for banks, reduction in reserve requirements, and a number of structural measures. Interest rates have thus been steadily deregulated in the past few years with banks being free to fix their Prime Lending Rates(PLRs) and deposit rates for most banking products. Credit market reforms included introduction of new instruments of credit, changes in the credit delivery system and integration of functional roles of diverse players, such as, banks, financial institutions and non-banking financial companies (Nbfcs). Domestic Private Sector Banks were allowed to be set up, PSBs were allowed to access the markets to shore up their Cars.
Implications Of Some Recent Policy Measures
The allowing of PSBs to shed manpower and dilution of equity are moves that will lend greater autonomy to the industry. In order to lend more depth to the capital markets the RBI had in November 2000 also changed the capital market exposure norms from 5 percent of bank’s incremental deposits of the previous year to 5 percent of the bank’s total domestic credit in the previous year. But this move did not have the desired effect, as in, while most banks kept away almost completely from the capital markets, a few private sector banks went overboard and exceeded limits and indulged in dubious stock market deals. The chances of seeing banks making a comeback to the stock markets are therefore quite unlikely in the near future.
The move to increase Foreign Direct Investment FDI limits to 49 percent from 20 percent during the first quarter of this fiscal came as a welcome announcement to foreign players wanting to get a foot hold in the Indian Markets by investing in willing Indian partners who are starved of networth to meet CAR norms. Ceiling for FII investment in companies was also increased from 24.0 percent to 49.0 percent and have been included within the ambit of FDI investment.
The abolishment of interest tax of 2.0 percent in budget 2001-02 will help banks pass on the benefit to the borrowers on new loans leading to reduced costs and easier lending rates. Banks will also benefit on the existing loans wherever the interest tax cost element has already been built into the terms of the loan. The reduction of interest rates on various small savings schemes from 11 percent to 9.5 percent in Budget 2001-02 was a much awaited move for the banking industry and in keeping with the reducing interest rate scenario, however the small investor is not very happy with the move.
Some of the not so good measures however like reducing the limit for tax deducted at source (TDS) on interest income from deposits to Rs 2,500 from the earlier level of Rs 10,000, in Budget 2001-02, had met with disapproval from the banking fraternity who feared that the move would prove counterproductive and lead to increased fragmentation of deposits, increased volumes and transaction costs. The limit was thankfully partially restored to Rs 5000 at the time of passing the Finance Bill in the Parliament.
April 2001-Credit Policy Implications
The rationalization of export credit norms in will bestow greater operational flexibility on banks, and also reduce the borrowing costs for exporters. Thus this move could trigger exports growth in the future. Banks can also hope to earn increased revenue with the interest paid by RBI on CRR balances being increased from 4.0 percent to 6.0 percent.
The stock market scam brought out the unholy nexus between the Cooperative banks and stockbrokers. In order to usher in greater prudence in their operations, the RBI has barred Urban Cooperative Banks from financing the stock market operations and is also in the process of setting up of a new apex supervisory body for them. Meanwhile the foreign banks have a bone to pick with the RBI. The RBI had announced that forex loans are not to be calculated as a part of Tier-1 Capital for drawing up exposure limits to companies effective 1 April 2002. This will force foreign banks either to infuse fresh capital to maintain the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) or pare their asset base. Further, the RBI has also sought to keep foreign competition away from the nascent net banking segment in India by allowing only Indian banks with a local physical presence, to offer Internet banking
On the macro economic front, GDP is expected to grow by 6.0 to 6.5 percent while the projected expansion in broad money (M3) for 2001-02 is about 14.5 percent. Credit and deposits are both expected to grow by 15-16 percent in FY02. India's foreign exchange reserves should reach US$50.0 billion in FY02 and the Indian rupee should hold steady.
The interest rates are likely to remain stable this fiscal based on an expected downward trend in inflation rate, sluggish pace of non-oil imports and likelihood of declining global interest rates. The domestic banking industry is forecasted to witness a higher degree of mergers and acquisitions in the future. Banks are likely to opt for the universal banking approach with a stronger retail approach. Technology and superior customer service will continue to be the imperatives for success in this industry.
Public Sector banks that imbibe new concepts in banking, turn tech savvy, leaner and meaner post VRS and obtain more autonomy by keeping governmental stake to the minimum can succeed in effectively taking on the private sector banks by virtue of their sheer size. Weaker PSU banks are unlikely to survive in the long run. Consequently, they are likely to be either acquired by stronger players or will be forced to look out for other strategies to infuse greater capital and optimize their
Foreign banks are likely to succeed in their niche markets and be the innovators in terms of technology introduction in the domestic scenario. The outlook for the private sector banks indeed looks to be more promising vis-à-vis other banks. While their focused operations, lower but more productive employee force etc will stand them good, possible acquisitions of PSU banks will definitely give them the much needed scale of operations and access to lower cost of funds. These banks will continue to be the early technology adopters in the industry, thus increasing their efficiencies. Also, they have been amongst the first movers in the lucrative insurance segment. Already, banks such as Icici Bank and Hdfc Bank have forged alliances with Prudential Life and Standard Life respectively. This is one segment that is likely to witness a greater deal of action in the future. In the near term, the low interest rate scenario is likely to affect the spreads of majors. This is likely to result in a greater focus on better asset-liability management procedures. Consequently, only banks that strive hard to increase their share of fee-based revenues are likely to do better in the future.
<P>EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1</P>
<P>BACKGROUND 6<BR>Segmentation of the Industry 6<BR>Increased Competition- The Order Of The Day 7<BR>Public Sector Banks –Still The Mainstay 8<BR>Evolution of the Industry 8<BR>The Role of the Central bank In India 9<BR>Importance Of The Sector 9</P>
<P>GLOBAL SCENARIO 10<BR>Interest Rate Scenario-Global And Its Effects In India 10<BR>Recent Crises 11<BR>Indian Players abroad 13</P>
<P>GOVERNMENT POLICIES 14<BR>Narasimham Committee Report II- The Second Phase of Reforms 14<BR>Verma Committee Report on Weak Banks 16<BR>Reduction of PPF and Small Savings Rates- Continuation of Reforms 16<BR>Bank Equity Dilution To 33.0 percent 17<BR>Capital Market Exposures Norms And Implications 17<BR>Bank Exposure Limits To Individual Corporates And Business Groups 18<BR>Rationalization Of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms 18<BR>Highlights Of The New Guidelines To Set Up Banks 19<BR>New Guidelines On Income-Recognition For Banks 19<BR>Multiple Banking Ground Rules 19<BR>RBI Tightens Bullion Trading Norms For Banks 20<BR>Net Banking Norms 20<BR>Union Budget 2001-02 20<BR>Stance of Monetary Policy for 2001-02 21<BR>Implications Of The Major Government Policies 23</P>
<P>CURRENT SCENARIO 24<BR>Performance Of Major Macro Indicators 24<BR>Market Size In Terms of Deposits And Credit 25<BR>Financing the Government 27<BR>Performance Of Major Segments In Fiscal 2001 29<BR>Sectoral and Industry-wise Deployment of Gross Bank Credit (Changes) 30<BR>Trends in rural and urban lending. 30<BR>Segment-wise Analysis of Performance and Strategies 31<BR>Subsidiaries Of Banks And Their Role 40<BR>Important Indicators in Banking 41<BR>Asset Related Ratios 43<BR>Recent Trends 45<BR>Narasimhan Committee report- On M&A 47</P>
<P>REVENUE DRIVERS 48<BR>FIGURES THAT MATTER 49<BR>CRYSTAL GAZING 52</P>