YES Bank shareholders flag governance issues, but back new management

Shareholders of private lender YES Bank on Wednesday raised issues of corporate governance at its annual general meeting (AGM) — the first since Ravneet Gill took over as managing director and chief executive officer. Most investors were also hopeful of better performance because of the change in senior management.

Gill replaced Rana Kapoor after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) refused to extend the latter’s term.

“The investors grilled the management on governance issues in the past year regarding Kapoor as well as the RBI’s scrutiny of the bank. They also inquired how the processes will be improved in the future. However, the board didn’t answer these questions and made a sweeping statement of changing things for the better,” said an investor.

The bank has been embroiled in controversy in the past year for a number of issues. There have been seven board-level exits in the past year and the bank also received flak from the RBI for violating disclosure norms. In May, the RBI appointed former Deputy Governor R Gandhi as an additional director to the YES Bank board.

The bank, in April, announced that it was conducting an internal enquiry into whistleblower complaint about allegations of operational irregularities, incorrect non-performing asset (NPA) classification, and conflict of interest in relation to Kapoor. But, no material financial impact was found. Sources said the shareholders did not seem worried about Kapoor;s future role at the bank, considering it to be a thing of the past.

“There is no need for flogging a dead horse,” said an investor when asked about Kapoor. Another investor said it was a good sign that the bank has moved away from personal complications. 

The dynamics of the bank used to heavily depend on its two promoter groups, led by co-promoters Rana Kapoor and Madhu Kapur, who have been in disagreement for years. 

Investors were also concerned about the high NPA levels at the bank and the lack of specific timeline regarding their resolution. The shareholders also expressed dismay at the fall in market value of the bank’s stock.  

The stock dropped by 59.6 per cent over the past year and closed at Rs 134.65 on the BSE.

On Wednesday, shares of YES Bank dropped by 3.34 per cent to close at Rs 134.65 on the BSE after Moody’s placed its ratings under review for a possible downgrade.

However, most shareholders at the AGM were hopeful that things will change for the better if key positive steps were undertaken. “The profile of the management at the bank instills confidence that the bank will correct its path. This was the general sentiment of the shareholders but only time will tell,” said a shareholder.

The bank’s 100 per cent dividend payout also painted a happy colour to the shareholder’s view of the bank. “Keeping aside net profit, there are other strong parameters of the bank such as sufficient revenues, network of branches, and brand position. This is not a bank that can dissolve overnight. It has seen trouble but that will soon be a thing of the past,” said an investor.

Topsy-Turvy Ride

 

2018

Sep: RBI cuts short Rana Kapoor’s term

Oct: RBI rejects YES Bank’s request forextending Kapoor’s term

Nov: Ashok Chawla resigns from post of chairman
  • O P Bhatt resigns due to “potential conflict of interest”
  • Independent director R Chandrashekhar resigns, says he is “unhappy with recent developments at the bank”
  • Moody’s, CARE Ratings and Icra downgrade the bank’s rating
Dec: Appoints former Irdai Chief Vijayan as independent director

2019

Jan: Appoints Brahm Dutt as chairman

Feb: Pralay Mondal resigns as retail and banking head

Mar: Ravneet Gill takes over as YES Bank MD & CEO

Apr: Posts first quarterly loss of Rs 1,507 crore

May: RBI appoints former Deputy Governor R Gandhi as an additional director to the board of the bank



Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel