State Bank of India (SBI) has bought loan pools worth only about Rs 17,000 crore so far in FY19 from non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), against the stated target of Rs 45,000 crore, sources told FE.
There are not too many good asset pools up for sale, and SBI is unlikely to meet its revised full-year target, according to executives in the know.
“We have very selectively bought portfolios in the housing, agri and MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) categories. There simply aren’t too many assets good enough for us to buy,” said a senior banker.
In a call with analysts after SBI’s Q3FY19 results, the bank’s management had said it had made portfolio buy-outs worth `11,000 crore during the December quarter, of which `8,700 crore were housing loans and `2,500 crore were microfinance institution (MFI) loans.
Chairman Rajnish Kumar had said the direct exposure was being taken only in NBFCs that were either state-owned or had been in the market for long.
The bank has divided the NBFC universe into four categories. The first consists of Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and REC. In the second category fall LIC Housing Finance, Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC), CanFin Homes and PNB Housing Finance. The likes of Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company, Bajaj Finance and Sundaram Finance fall in the third category.
“Fourth category is where mostly I would call them first-generation entrepreneurs. There our credit would not have increased,” Kumar told analysts.
“There, as I mentioned earlier, our approach is to do due diligence on the portfolio if a good-quality portfolio is available and from priority sector; mostly, sometimes it comes as a package that 80% is priority sector, 20% is non-priority. Without diluting our due diligence norms, that portfolio purchase is, as a part of policy we were doing earlier, we continue to do that.”
SBI, the country’s largest lender, had said in October 2018 it was trebling its target for purchase of loan portfolios from NBFCs to `45,000 crore amid a liquidity squeeze faced by non-banks in the aftermath of defaults by firms from the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) group.
At that time, SBI had said the crisis in the NBFC space was a good commercial opportunity for the bank to increase its advances portfolio as NBFC assets were available at attractive rates. It was looking for opportunities both in priority and non-priority sectors.