In view of cash crunch being faced by borrowers, the RBI today provided additional 60 days for repayment of housing, car, farm and other loans worth up to Rs 1 crore. This is applicable to loans payable between November 1 and December 31, the RBI said in a notification. "… It has been decided to provide an additional 60 days beyond what is applicable for the concerned regulated entity for recognition of a loan account as substandard," it said.
The above relaxation is available to entities running working capital accounts with any bank with the sanctioned limit of Rs 1 crore or less.
Term loans, whether business or personal, secured or otherwise, the original sanctioned amount of Rs 1 crore or less, on the books of any bank or any NBFC, including NBFC (MFI) would also get benefit of this relaxation.
This will also include housing loans and agriculture loans, it said.
The apex bank further said that all regulated financial institutions should note that this is a short-term deferment of classification as substandard due to delay in payment of dues arising during the period specified above and does not result in restructuring of the loans.
"Dues payable before November 1 and after December 31, 2016, will be covered by the extant instruction for the respective regulated entity with regard to recognition of NPAs," it said.
The demonetisation of higher value currency notes has affected normal banking activities including clearing of cheques. Besides, borrowers are unable to get payments from their creditors due to various restrictions including cash withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 per week, limiting their options to repay their dues.
DHFL Chief Executive Officer Harshil Mehta said, "It is a welcome move by the RBI as many customers have expressed their inability to repay dues in time because of ongoing demonetisation drive."
For many of them, EMIs are due in the first half of the month, so the relaxation will help keep account standard even when the payment is not received, he said.
Neither borrowers' credit score is impacted negatively due to non-payment nor financial institutions have to make additional provisions for sub-standard account, he added.
The RBI said it has received representation saying consequent upon withdrawal of the legal tender status of the existing Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, small borrowers may need some more time to repay their loan dues.
The central bank further said the additional time given should only apply to defer the classification of an existing standard asset as substandard and not for delaying the migration of an account across sub-categories of NPA.
Loans sanctioned by banks to NBFC (MFI), NBFCs, Housing Finance Companies, and by State Cooperative Banks to DCCBs, it said, adding, the above guidelines will also be applicable to loans extended by District Cooperative Banks.