Companies & Sectors
Banks may need Rs2.5 lakh crore to meet Basel III capital norms: Fitch

The immediate impact of the Basel-III capital regime is benign, with the common equity Tier-I ratio for many Indian banks already close to 8% or higher, a Fitch study said

New Delhi: Indian banks may need to raise up to $50 billion (about Rs2.5 lakh crore) of additional equity under the Basel III capital regulations announced by the RBI on top of retained earnings, reports PTI quoting a Fitch study.

“Most of the requirement is back-ended, with over 75% needed to be added between 2015-16 and 2017-18. The additional equity reflects growth capital as well as a buffer above the regulatory minimum,” it said.

The guidelines released on 2 May 2012, do not yet provide for a counter-cyclical capital buffer or additional capital for systemically important banks, it said.

Another rating agency ICRA said banks will require between Rs3.9 lakh crore to Rs5 lakh crore as capital to comply with Basel-III norms.

“Banks will need Rs3.9 trillion to Rs5 trillion capital over the next six years, out of which common equity requirements will be Rs1.3 trillion to Rs2 trillion; Rs1.9 trillion for additional tier I; and Rs1 trillion for tier II,” ICRA had said.

Fitch’s calculations add half a percentage point of additional common equity to the regulatory minimum, which banks may like to maintain to avoid breaching the conservation buffer—with attendant restrictions on dividends and other payouts.

The immediate impact of the Basel-III capital regime is benign, with the common equity Tier-I ratio for many Indian banks already close to 8% or higher, it said.

However, the shortfall mounts up between 2015-16 and 2017-18, mostly for government banks—with loan growth outpacing internal capital generation, and the minimum capital ratios stepping up, it said.

The largest requirement is by State Bank of India and its associate banks, reflecting their significant share in the banking system; followed by the mid-sized and small government banks with weaker internal capital generation, it said.

The large private banks fare better, due to their higher capital ratios and stronger profitability, it added.

About half of the $40 billion needed by government banks is likely to be injected by the government based on its stated intent of maintaining majority shareholding.

Unless planned, government banks may face the risk of a sudden shortfall in capital during 2015-16, requiring additional support by the sovereign and putting further pressure on government finances.

The need for fresh capital comes at a time when the performance of Indian banks is clearly being affected by the economic slowdown, together with asset-quality pressures from concentrated exposure to infrastructure companies and weak state-owned entities, it added.

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