Deregulation of interest rates on savings accounts on radar: RBI

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said deregulation of interest rates on savings accounts is on its radar and it will soon be examining the possibility of implementing the same, reports PTI.

"Deregulation of interest rate is on our radar. A working group will soon be set up to examine the possibility of deregulating interest rates," RBI's deputy governor, Usha Thorat, said while addressing a banking conference organised by FICCI and IBA here.

"We have to examine whether the deregulation can help bring more people into the formal banking system," she said.

At 3.5% per annum, interest on savings accounts is the only regulated rate in the banking system presently and a highly contentious one given its impact on the common man.

For achieving the goal of financial inclusion, there is a need for a higher number of tie-ups between banks and the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) who have better delivery systems to ensure better last mile connectivity, Ms Thorat said.

The senior RBI official also said that the apex bank is in the process of "tweaking" regulations on securitisation to ensure the growth of the securitised market in an orderly manner.

Banks should also ensure that there is no excessive borrowing as such borrowings can lead to the formation of bubbles which can deter stability, she said.

Looking at the high growth in credit in recent years, Ms Thorat advised banks to do more "forward looking provisions" to cover their non-performing assets (NPAs) whose increase is "inevitable" in the future.

In her address, Ms Thorat laid a greater stress on rating agencies and asked them to provide a "holistic approach" while rating as it has a direct link to the bank's assets.

She also highlighted the need for development finance institutions to launch more ventures like the Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) which offers collateral-free loans for the benefit of small farmers, landless agricultural labourers, those engaged in allied activities related to agriculture and ones affected by natural calamities.


M&A activity slows down in August to $4.2 billion

New Delhi: India Inc's merger and acquisition activity seems to be fading as the month of August was the leanest since September 2009 with total deal volume of $4.2 billion, reports PTI.

According to research firm VCCEdge, August saw the lowest deals in the last 11 months which could be much better if "Vedanta's proposed $9.6-billion deal for Cairn India would have gone through."

"March and June 2010 had seen some large deals which resulted in deal value greater than $14 billion during these two months. August was much lower in comparison," it added.

In July this year, the total value of M&A deals was about $5.4 billion.

However, merger and acquisition activity in August this year zoomed over seven fold compared to the same month last year when only deals worth $629 million took place, the report noted. For the year so far, total merger and acquisition deal value stands at $54 billion.

Besides, there has also been a smart jump in the number of deals to 58 in the month against 34 in the year-ago period.

The period saw as many as 10 domestic deals worth $442 million, compared to 8 deals valued at $39 million in the year-ago period.

The VCCEdge report noted that energy, industrials and consumer discretionary were the most targeted sectors in the month with deals worth $3.10 billion, $325 million and $310 million respectively.

Adani Enterprise's acquisition of the coal assets of Linc Energy for $2.7 billion was the biggest buyout of the month, accounting for more than half of the total deal value followed by two buyouts made by Reliance Industries.

The country's most valued firm RIL purchased shale acreage in central and north east Pennsylvania for $392 million and also marked its entry into the hospitality sector with the acquisition of 14.12% stake in the promoter of Oberoi Group of hotels and resorts, EIH, for $220 million, the report pointed out.

The top five deals alone accounted for 85% of total M&A deal activity in August 2010, VCCEdge said.


Edelweiss Capital appoints Anil Kothuri as head-retail finance

Financial services company Edelweiss Capital has appointed Anil Kothuri as head-retail finance. Mr Kothuri's appointment is in line with the company's focus on strengthening the senior management bandwidth to lead the companies growing and expanding businesses.

As head-retail finance, Mr Kothuri's key responsibility would be to scale up the company's recently launched housing finance business and to further expand into other retail financing products.

Mr Kothuri has over 16 years of experience in the field spanning various asset businesses including mortgage, auto loans and unsecured lending. Prior to joining Edelweiss he was with Citibank where he led key assignments across functions in audit, operations, sales, product management and marketing.


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