Banks unanimous in seeking one-time loan restructuring for realtors

Lenders unanimously have called for a one-time restructuring mechanism to save the tens of hundreds of stalled realty projects with an additional funding option to help such projects get completed.

The demand made on Wednesday came ahead of the government later in the evening approving setting up of a Rs 25,000-crore bailout fund to finance as many as 1,600 stalled housing projects.

"Personally, I believe we can overcome this crisis of confidence if we are allowed to carry out a one-time restructuring of certain real estate loans, particularly those stalled projects where approvals have been delayed," HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh said while addressing the India mortgage conclave here earlier in the day.

If these restructured accounts are considered as standard assets for a period of say, 12 months, then the lenders will stop being so diffident, he added and pointed out when in 2008 the Reserve Bank allowed an exceptional regulatory treatment it had helped in reviving the sentiment.

State Bank chairman Rajnish Kumar said if there is scope for restructuring, then one should do it.

Axis Bank managing director Amitabh Choudhry said there are many realty projects with over 60 percent construction completed but are not able to carry forward for paucity of funds.

"We need to have a mechanism where lenders can restructure these assets and make additional lending after securing stronger governance and strict end-use monitoring and help complete these projects," he said.

Parekh said there are many developers who genuinely need the last-mile funding but many of them are denied the same as the environment has become very wary of the sector.

"We can't afford to end up in a situation where we cut off the oxygen to even developers with strong balancesheet as lenders remain risk averse," Parekh said.

Blaming the rising number of stalled projects to risk averseness of bankers, Chaudhry said, "we need to have a special dispensation to resolve such cases in a quick and efficient manner-- be it cases being dealt with at their end by lenders or cases admitted in NCLTs," he added.

Stating that REITS are emerging as a preferred alternative investment avenue for realtors, Parekh said, "it is estimated that USD20-25 billion can be raised by commercial developers over the next three-four years".

Calling for cross-border securitisation given the scale of resources required for housing finance, Parekh rued that reverse mortgage, which enables senior citizens to convert their biggest asset--their homes--into a monthly stream of income, is yet to take-off in the country.

Chaudhry chipped in saying suggesting government looking at making reverse mortgage more lucrative.



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