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'Yes Bank restructuring may intensify NBFI's challenges'

Mumbai

11-March-2020

 India's non-bank financial institutions (NBFI) will likely face renewed pressure on funding and liquidity following the Reserve Bank of India's takeover of Yes Bank, Fitch Ratings said on Wednesday.

According to Fitch Ratings, the consequences will compound the credit squeeze across the country's financial system, adding to current economic uncertainty.

"The move comes as the impact of the coronavirus is beginning to be felt in India, raising further risks to economic growth and NBFI asset quality. Rising asset quality and funding risks will place pressure on ratings if conditions worsen materially," Fitch Ratings said in a commentary.

"The NBFI sector's direct exposures to Yes Bank should be modest as a whole. Yes Bank's issues have been known for some time, and companies have had time to pare back any exposure to the bank over the past year."

As per the commentary, Yes Bank's advances to NBFIs equated to roughly 1-2 per cent of the NBFI sector's total bank funding, and the sector's asset exposures to the bank would be similarly moderate.

"This is the case for Fitch's rated portfolio of Indian NBFIs, although companies such as Shriram Transport Finance Company Limited (BB+/Stable) and Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd have disclosed some holdings in Yes Bank securities," the commentary said.

"Shriram Transport's exposures are to the bank's Upper Tier II securities, which are not subject to being written down under the RBI's proposed reconstruction scheme. These holdings amounted to less than 1 per cent of Shriram Transport's equity at end-December 2019, while Indiabulls had exposure to Yes Bank's Additional Tier 1 (AT1) bonds."

Nonetheless, the recent announcement may bring about broader contagion effects for NBFI funding conditions, the ratings agency said.

"The RBI's planned reconstruction scheme broadly protects the deposits and liabilities of the bank, but calls for a writedown on its Basel III AT1 instruments at present," the commentary said.

"This may trigger another round of investor risk aversion that tightens market access and raises overall funding costs for borrowers, with wholesale NBFIs likely to remain more vulnerable in this situation."

The ratings agency cautioned that there may also be a knock-on effects for NBFIs if smaller private banks start to face deteriorating depositor confidence.

Lately, banks have been an important source of liquidity for NBFIs amid the funding squeeze in the local debt markets over the past 18 months, and any weakness in bank deposit funding would constrict liquidity available for lending to the NBFI sector.

"An extended credit squeeze will likely exacerbate asset quality risks for the financial sector including NBFIs, which are already facing pressure from a general economic and property-sector slowdown, and an evolving COVID-19 situation," the commentary said.

"The asset quality risks that have been largely centred on wholesale property development would, in Fitch's view, start to broaden if the economy becomes more adversely affected." IANS