Mumbai: Tightening of norms may increase non-banking finance companies' (NBFCs) headline non-performing advances (NPA) by around one third, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) said.
"The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) clarification on NPA accounting is likely to increase NPAs by around one third for non-banking finance companies (NBFCs)," the ratings agency said.
"However, the impact on provisioning could be modest, given NBFCs are using 'IND-As' and generally for higher rated NBFCs, provision policy is more conservative than 'IRAC' requirements."
Besides, the agency pointed out that NBFCs would have to invest in systems and processes to comply with daily stamping requirements.
"Ind-Ra understands that NBFCs have presented to the RBI for providing a transition period on this requirement."
On the other aspects of RBI clarification, the agency said that NBFCs generally classify an account as stage 3 when there is a payment overdue for more than 90 days. Typically for monthly payments, this would be when there are 3 or more instalments overdue on any account.
"However, when the borrower makes part payment such that the total overdue is less than three instalments, the account is removed from NPA classification and classified as a standard asset, although it remains in the overdue category in case not all overdues are cleared."
"The RBI clarification would allow stage 3 assets to become standard only when all the overdues or arrears (including interest) are cleared."
Furthermore, the agency pointed out that NBFC borrowers are generally a weak class of borrowers and have volatile cash flows which could mean that once an account has been classified as NPA, "it could remain there for a considerable period as the ability to clear all dues may be constrained".
In terms of the provisioning trend, NBFCs have transitioned to the 'Ind-As' regime and the provision created on any account is based on the historical data on "roll backs and roll forwards" and the credit loss experienced on accounts in different overdue buckets.
"This is different from the provisioning created on the accounts as per the standard IRAC norms. The NPA provisioning under Ind-As depends on the asset class and the riskiness of the account."
"During Covid times, NBFCs have increased their provisioning cover for standard as well as NPA accounts. The new norms would restrict the movement from stage 3 to standard category unless all the overdues are cleared. So, accounts which have paid some part of the overdues would remain in NPA category and have to be provided accordingly."