YES Bank crisis: FM assures depositors as RBI promises quick resolution

Sitharaman said the steps taken are in the interest of depositors, banks and the economy | Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar
A day after Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed a moratorium on the capital-starved YES Bank, capping withdrawals at Rs 50,000 per account and superseding the private sector lender's board, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured depositors that their money is safe and the RBI is working on an early resolution of the issue.

“I'm in continuous interaction with the RBI. The central bank is fully seized of the matter and has assured they will give a quick resolution. I want to assure every depositor that their money shall be safe. Their monies are safe,” Sitharaman told reporters.

Sitharaman said the steps taken are in the interest of depositors, banks and the economy. She insisted the immediate priority to ensure YES Bank customers are able to withdraw money within Rs 50,000 limit.

“We are fully of seized of the development. RBI governor has assured me that there will be no loss to any depositor,” she added.

The Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das earlier defended the central bank's move to take control of the beleaguered lender and assured swift resolution to the issues concerning.

The central bank had earlier said the decision was taken in public interest and in the interests of the bank’s depositors, and that it was left with “no alternative”.

Speaking after the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) Banking annual meeting, Das said there is an outer limit of 30 days to provide a quick resolution.

Shaktikanta Das added that the decision on YES Bank was taken at a larger level, not only to deal with the problem of an individual entity, but also to maintain stability and resilience of the Indian financial and banking sector.

State Bank of India (SBI) Chairman Rajnish Kumar after meeting the Finance Minister spoke to reporters and said the problem at hand is lender-specific and not sectoral.

The SBI board has given in-principle approval to consider an “investment opportunity” in YES Bank. In a late night statement on Thursday, SBI, however, said no decision had yet been taken to pick up stake in the bank.

"This is not a sectoral problem. It is a bank-specific problem," he said. He added that the RBI will take all steps to ensure financial stability."

"The RBI has said they will come out with a restructuring plan, the resolution will come very shortly," Kumar told reporters.
On SBI picking up a stake in YES Bank, he said the lender already has an in-principle approval for doing so.

YES Bank will not be able to grant or renew any loan or advance, make any investment, incur any liability or agree to disburse any payment. This is the first time that a bank of this size will be put under a moratorium by the RBI.

For the next month, YES Bank will be led by the RBI-appointed administrator Prashant Kumar, an ex-chief financial officer of SBI.

YES Bank has been struggling to execute a capital raising plan for the last six months. Its core equity tier-I ratio had slipped to 8.7 per cent as of September. The bank had also delayed its December quarter results.

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