Author Topic: Ailing banks: Where is AMC?  (Read 140 times)

JEWEL KUMAR ROY

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Ailing banks: Where is AMC?
« on: November 19, 2015, 11:23:22 AM »
The state-owned banks are in financial crisis reportedly due to non-performing loans (NPLs) or default loans. There is no evaluation of efficiency and performance of banks in Bangladesh.

Default loans are typically by-products of financial crises. Some external and internal reasons can severely undermine the capacity and sometimes the willingness of borrowers to continue servicing and repay their debts.

The government has allocated Tk 50 billion in this fiscal year reportedly as per a recommendation by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under its extended credit facility (ECF) programme in a bid to recapitalise four ailing state-owned banks. According to the policy-makers, the government had no other choice but to allocate the funds in the budget as they were concerned about the financial health of four state-owned commercial banks in Bangladesh - Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali.

The Legal Department of IMF in a paper in 1999, titled 'Orderly and Effective Insolvency Procedures: Key Issues', suggested that in most countries when a debtor has failed to meet his liabilities as these become due, the insolvency system provides the creditors (and sometimes the debtors) with the option to initiate either liquidation or rehabilitation procedures. Creditors often opt for rehabilitation when restructuring of the operations (company reorganisation, downsizing and so on) or balance sheets of the debtor will enable the creditors to recover more than what they would expect through liquidation. Rehabilitation may also serve a broader social interest, for example, by granting the debtor a second chance as well as protecting the jobs of the employees of the debtor. But the policy of the IMF is different than the suggestion given to Bangladesh.

The original policy of the IMF suggested to other countries and its experiences in Korea, China and all ASEAN countries succeeded with the creation of the Asset Management Company (AMC). In many respects, these measures-the AMCs and  development of out-of-court centralised corporate debt workout frameworks-have come to define the crisis asset management setting in these countries.

Banks are in credit crunch of non-performing assets (NPAs) and provisioning of certain amount for the NPAs which limit the fund for extending credits. The solution is not in financing through budgetary allocation from tax-payers' money. Other countries separate the NPAs from banks and transfer those to other organisations for taking care of such assets to come out of credit crunch.

Bangladesh needs a successful NPA management policy guided by well-defined objectives. The following are the most important of these objectives: (a) Asset management policies should aim at restoring liquidity and solvency in financial institutions, restoring confidence in their valuation and enhancing credit discipline (by discouraging opportunistic defaults) and allowing them to resume their normal functions; (b) a high rate of recovery is primarily an equity objective, restoring to holders of assets what is owed to them. In addition, a high rate of recovery performs a signalling function, reassuring lenders at large as to the prospects of any outstanding and new credits; (c) a speedy resolution of the problem through efficient measures and (d) a large overhang of non-performing assets can paralyse financial markets.

Asset management is the process whereby non-performing assets are first identified and organised into one of four categories of actions (1) selling, (2) recovering, (3) restructuring, and (4) writing off of such assets according to their individual characteristics and then resolved.

Asset management policies are institutional arrangements or techniques that facilitate this process:

o To sell a non-performing asset, the market for such an asset must exist and, if there is no such market, it must be organised. The sale of non-performing assets facilitates diversification of risks and reallocation of resources (our law permits such sale but does not evaluate the market demands for such assets).

o To recover a non-performing asset, the AMC initiates a process, often legal, by which a part or the whole of the value of the asset can be recouped through seizure and liquidation of its collateral and/or through sale of other assets in possession of the borrower. The effective functioning of this process largely depends on the existing legal frameworks and procedures, the perceived working of which often will have a significant influence on market valuation of asset and assets in general (the Artho Rin Adalat Act has better provision for such legal actions).

o To restructure a non-performing asset, the holder enters into negotiation with the asset's obligor with the aim of strengthening his ability to service and eventually repay the principal. This usually involves redefining of the terms of the original contract, a process that often entails some concessions on the parts of both the holder and the obligor. Successful debt restructuring can benefit both creditors and debtors. However, the process should be initiated only if the economic return from the rehabilitation of the asset exceeds that of its liquidation,

o To write off a non-performing asset, the holder takes a loss equivalent to its book value and removes it from the balance- sheet. The holder will normally only do so when the prospect of recovery is very low and when the cost of recovery or maintenance of the asset exceeds its value (banks sometimes write off such loans for some influential borrowers but not within their policy or not under the law of the country).

Bangladesh may have a law to set up AMCs entrusting the responsibility of (1) selling, (2) recovering, (3) restructuring, and (4) writing off of some loans etc.

AMCs may be public or private entities as per law, whose main function should be to take over the non-performing assets of distressed financial institutions. These are generally founded on the supposition that they can help facilitate financial restructuring and maximise the recovery of non-performing assets at the same time.

On the other hand, rehabilitation of non-performing assets may be beneficial not only to borrowers and banks but may also produce welfare gains on a wider social scale. For these reasons, policymakers in Asian crisis countries have increasingly focused their attention on debt restructuring and, to facilitate the process, have implemented out-of-court centralised debt workout frameworks.

To minimise the fiscal and/or private cost associated with the restructuring of distressed financial institutions, financial restructuring programmes should aim at maximising the value of restructured financial institutions and that of the assets of closed financial institutions overtime. To achieve these objectives, it has sometimes been suggested that good assets of distressed financial institutions should be separated from the bad ones and that AMCs should be set up as vehicles to take over the latter.

In the USA, the legal provision is to take action against the banks. For example, the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is obliged by law to take over the assets (in addition to the liabilities) of failed banks. In its role, the FDIC is to undertake liquidation of assets of these banks and issue receivership certificates to depositors with uninsured funds and to other creditors of failed institutions, entitling them to a share of the net proceeds from the liquidation.

The policy of Bangladesh is to file case against the borrower, blame the legal system and the existing laws for 'failure' to recover the money for banks. This is not the policy in any other country. They look into weakness of banking policy and different options to solve the issue considering the best beneficial process for banks, borrowers and the economy.