New Delhi: Indian banks have been lending more than $20 billion to borrowers who have defaulted on loans and defaulted again in the past few years, data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday showed.
The data was released as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley visited banks to discuss a package of measures for the financial crisis.
They are expected to hold talks with the Reserve Board of India, which will meet on Friday to finalise the package.
While the data is not yet complete, the banks say the loans will be used to finance urgent needs, like rehabilitation and rehabilitation work, and for small businesses that are struggling.
The banks have also started to take on new loans, with the new lending rate for 2017-18 coming down to 10 per cent from the previous 5.5 per cent.
The total number of borrowers that have defaulting in 2017-2018, when the banks were reporting, stood at 2,749,933.
This is a drop of 7 per cent over the previous year, and comes after the banks announced a reduction of 4 per cent in the lending rate in 2017 to 10.5 percent from 12.5.
In a statement, RBI governor Raghuram Rajan said banks will be able to lend to borrowers in distress.
“This will help them to repay their loans and to help them pay down their debt,” he said.
“In the next two to three years, we will be looking at ways to support the new borrowers.”
The RBI said that borrowers are expected repay a higher proportion of their loans in a year, with this expected to be reflected in the rates on their bills.
“The banks will not be able offer a loan to borrowers that do not have sufficient income to pay the interest.
This will be done through higher interest rates,” Rajan added.RBI said the rate reduction would take effect in January 2018, and will be applied retroactively.
“The banks are required to use this savings to provide financial assistance to borrowers and the overall financial system of the country,” the RBI said.
The central bank said that banks will continue to work with borrowers who need assistance in repayment of outstanding loans.
“We will work to help borrowers who are in distress through various avenues including by offering loans and other financial support,” it said.
The government had announced a new scheme to help lenders in distress in October 2017.
The scheme, which had been in effect since December 2017, has provided a loan of up to Rs 20 lakh per borrower to help the borrower repay a loan.
The scheme also allows banks to lend at interest rates of between 8.25 per cent and 12.75 per cent, for up to a total of Rs 1 lakh per month.
Rajan said that the government would be making changes to the new scheme in line with the need of the times.
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