RBI caps withdrawals from Yes Bank; supersedes board


MUMBAI: Troubled private sector lender
Yes Bank was placed under a “moratorium” on late Thursday, with the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) capping depositor withdrawals at Rs 50,000 per account for a month and superseding the board with immediate effect.

The RBI took the decision in consultation with the government to protect depositors’ interest.

The central bank also superseded the board of Yes Bank, which has not been able to raise required capital for the last six months. It also appointed former chief financial officer (CFO) of SBI, Prashant Kumar as the administrator of Yes Bank.

“The Reserve Bank came to the conclusion that in the absence of a credible revival plan, and in public interest and the interest of the bank’s depositors, it had no alternative but to apply to the central government for imposing a moratorium under section 45 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949,” the RBI said in a statement late in the evening.

The statement said the bank management had indicated that it was in talks with various investors and they were likely to be successful. The bank was also engaged with a few private equity firms for exploring opportunities to infuse capital.

“These investors did hold discussions with senior officials of the Reserve Bank but for various reasons eventually did not infuse any capital.

“Since a bank and market-led revival is a preferred option over a regulatory restructuring, the Reserve Bank made all efforts to facilitate such a process and gave adequate opportunity to the bank’s management to draw up a credible revival plan, which did not materialise,” the statement said.

In the meantime, the bank was facing regular outflow of liquidity, the apex bank said, justifying its actions.

The actions come hours after sources said the government has approved a plan wherein State Bank of India (SBI) and other financial institutions would bailout Yes Bank.

If the plan is implemented, it would be the first major instance in many years where a private sector lender would be bailed out using public money.

In 2004, Global Trust Bank was amalgamated with Oriental Bank of Commerce and in 2006, IDBI Bank took over United Western Bank.

The curbs on Yes Bank come after similar action was taken against fraud-hit cooperative lender PMC (Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative) Bank in September, where depositors are still in the lurch.

“The Reserve Bank assures depositors of the bank that their interest will be fully protected and there is no need to panic. In terms of the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, the Reserve Bank will explore and draw up a scheme in the next few days for the bank’s reconstruction or amalgamation and with the approval of the Central Government, put the same in place well before the period of moratorium of thirty days ends so that the depositors are not put to hardship for a long period of time,” the central bank statement added.

Yes Bank has been grappling with mounting bad loans. The bank has been trying to raise $2 billion in fresh capital since February 2019. It has also delayed its December-quarter results which was supposed to be released last month.

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