PNB, Allahabad Bank, UCO Bank, Corporation Bank fined for violation of KYC norms

rbi, PNB, public-sector banks, UCO BANK, Allahabad Bank, BANKING AND FINANCEWhile PNB, Allahabad Bank and UCO Bank have been fined Rs 50 lakh each, a Rs 25-lakh penalty has been imposed on Corporation Bank. (Reuters)

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 1.75 crore on four public-sector banks, including PNB and UCO Bank, for non-compliance with KYC requirement and norms for opening of current accounts. While PNB, Allahabad Bank and UCO Bank have been fined Rs 50 lakh each, a Rs 25-lakh penalty has been imposed on Corporation Bank.

Giving details, the RBI said the penalty has been imposed for non-compliance with certain provisions of directions issued by it on know your customer norms or anti-money laundering standards and opening of current accounts. The action, however, is based on the deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the banks with their customers, the RBI added.

In a stock exchange filing on Tuesday, UCO Bank said, “We inform that the RBI in exercise of powers conferred under Section 47 (A) (1) (c) read with Section section 51 and 46 (4) (1) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, has imposed a penalty of Rs 5 million (Rs 50 lakh) on UCO Bank for non-compliance of RBI directives on ‘KYC norms/AML standards/CFT/obligation of banks and financial institutions under PMLA 2002’ and also on ‘opening of current accounts by banks — need for discipline’.”

Similarly, Allahabad Bank, in a stock exchange filing, said the RBI has imposed a penalty of Rs 50 lakh on the bank for non-compliance of the directions issued the by RBI on “KYC norms/AML standards” and “opening of current accounts”.


Analyst corner: Lower Mutual fund exposure to affect financial flexibity of NBFCs

Kotak Institutional Equities

Mutual Funds’ current exposure to NBFC/HFCs at 28% is broadly in line with the revised cap prescribed by Sebi. However, lower sectoral limit will affect medium-term financial flexibility of all NBFCs. MF/debt investors are anyway cautious, preferring retail NBFCs with strong parentage; most NBFCs have anyway increased bank borrowings. In light of liquidity challenges and concern in wholesale NBFCs, we remain cautious on the sector even as stable asset quality in most retail segments, detailed in RBI’s FSR, reinforces comfort on retail players.

Sebi has reduced sectoral limits for mutual funds’ investment in any single sector to 20% from 25% earlier. This will directly affect their investments in NBFCs. The regulator has also reduced the additional exposure limit on HFCs to 10% from 15% earlier. It has, however, provided for added 5% limit for securitised debt backed by retail housing loans and affordable housing loan portfolios. Currently, the total cap for MFs to non-banks is 40% which includes 25% to NBFCs and 15% to HFC. This will now stand reduced to 30% (20% to NBFCs and 10% to HFCs) with an additional 5% for retail/affordable housing securitised loans. The timeline for implementation of this regulation is not clear. Sebi has also mandated investments only in listed NCDs (which is mostly the case) and listed CPs. This norm will, however, be implemented in a phased manner.

The ratio declined to 36% in May 2019 from 39% in September 2018. Excluding PFC/REC, the ratio was 28% in May 2019, in line with the new effective cap of 30%. Within this, the exposure to NBFCs was 18% and HFCs was marginally higher than the new cap at 11%. While it may seem that these norms may not have an immediate impact, we believe these significantly reduce the financial flexibility of NBFCs. NBFCs make concerted efforts to diversify funding avenues from banks to MFs, insurance companies, foreign borrowings, retail bonds, etc, in order to optimise funding costs as well as reduce dependence on any single source. The new regulations will structure reduce the leeway for NBFCs especially in the backdrop of the recent Sebi regulation that prescribed large borrowers to raise 25% of incremental borrowings from bond markets from FY22.

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