Lakshmi Vilas Bank crisis: Working on a back-up plan, says Shakti Sinha

Shakti Sinha, director on board of LVB | Illustration: Ajay Mohanty
Ailing private lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank is in urgent need of capital. A clear picture on the amalgamation proposal of Clix Capital group will emerge in two weeks, Shakti Sinha, director on board of LVB, told Abhijit Lele in an interview. Sinha is part of the three-member committee of directors which would exercise the discretionary powers of the MD & CEO of the bank.

 

What is future course for LVB? What are the priorities for now?

 

The process of selection of candidates for the managing director’s post is already through from our side. The committee of directors is only a temporary arrangement till the name is approved by Reserve Bank of India. 

 

The priorities are clear. One, ensure that the bank is run well on a day to day basis. Second, develop strategies to improve the financials; and third, raise capital through various measures. We will carry the capital raising process to its logical end.

 

LVB already has a proposal for amalgamation from Clix. We understand there is a plan B also in place to protect depositors’ interests, in case the proposal does not fructify. What is the status on both?

 

The process (discussion on amalgamation proposal) is going on. We are pushing it forward. We have different options (on Plan B).

 

There is some talk of roping in a public sector bank for a back-up plan. Could you give an update?

 

That is for Reserve Bank of India to answer. We will do the job to the best of our abilities while we are here.

 

When can we see some clarity as time is running out?

 

In two weeks we should have much better clarity about the way forward. The teams have changed. So the new teams need some time to catch up on discussions and will need some time to settle down. The capital raising committee is already on the job.

 

LVB has been under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) regime for a year. What is your assessment of the milestones?

 

The biggest thing holding the bank back is the resolution of non-performing assets.  That number has not come down. The second point is controlling expenditure. The process has started. At present we have a negative spread as far as cost of money is concerned. Reversing that is very important.

 

How is the bank working on recoveries?

 

Employees have been following up on individual cases. They were at it but the Covid 19 pandemic came. We are examining the cases legally wherever required and are also looking at one-time settlements.

 

The board will require more people as many directors were voted out. Has the bank begun work on inducting new directors?

 

We have started the process. Many people have sent resumes and some names have been referred. We will scrutinise the names and refer them for due diligence. We have to keep in mind various segments like representation for SMEs. We will ensure it is a broad-based board representing all kinds of stakeholders.



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