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PNB claims expected recovery of Rs 1,800 cr from “Mission Gandhigiri”

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Punjab National Bank
Punjab National Bank (PNB). (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) State-run lender Punjab National Bank is expected to recover around Rs 1,800 crore from its non-performing assets (NPAs) recovery mechanism — “Mission Gandhigiri” — which will soon complete one year of operation.

A senior bank official told IANS the mission, was launched in May 2017, had consistently delivered positive results with an average recovery of Rs 150 crore from the initiative.

“The mission was born out of the need to name and shame defaulters to increase societal pressure and urge them to pay back. Mission Gandhigiri has a dedicated recovery team across all circles of the bank,” the official, who did not want to be named, told IANS.

Accordingly, the passive recovery mechanism entails the team members to “visit the borrowers’ office or residence and sit their silently with placards that have hard-hitting messages such as ‘It is public money, please repay the loans’.”

On the legal side of the operation, following the government’s directions regarding wilful defaulters, the bank has declared 1,084 wilful defaulters.

“Due to PNB’s aggressive stance towards wilful defaulters, 150 passports have been impounded over the past few months,” the official said. Additionally, over the last 9 months, the bank has also lodged 37 FIRs against defaulters.

The bank is also leveraging data analytics for loan recovery and risk management.

“We have tied up with a leading credit agency and with the help of a third-party expert analytics, we will now be able to get access to contact information of PNB defaulters who have good credit record with other lenders,” the official said.

“This partnership is a part of the larger strategy to deploy technology to strengthen internal systems. This partnership will not only help the bank with loan recovery but will also help identify and automate profitable lending strategies and minimise credit and fraud risk,” the official said.

The bank has also recently started works towards “improving internal systems by incorporating analytics and Artificial Intelligence for reconciliation of accounts”.

In addition, two special OTS (One-Time Settlement) schemes have helped the bank to accelerate NPA recovery.

“From an average of recovering loan amount from 70,000-80,000 NPA accounts in a year, this move has resulted in recovery in 225,000 NPA accounts over a span of 10 months,” the official added.

“These schemes apply to small NPA accounts helping defaulters come out of debt.”

IANS

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Videocon Case: SEBI issues notice to ICICI Bank, CEO Chanda Kochhar

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ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar

Mumbai, May 25: Private lender ICICI Bank on Friday said that Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has sought responses from the company and its MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar on alleged non-compliance of the “erstwhile ‘Listing Agreement’ and the ‘Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015′”.

According to a BSE filing, SEBI sought the reply via a notice issued to the private lender and its MD and CEO on May 24.

As per the securities market regulator’s LODR regulations, all listed entities are mandated to immediately disclose relevant and important information to stock exchanges.

“The MD and CEO and the bank received a notice from SEBI on May 24, 2018… requiring responses on matters relating to alleged non-compliance with certain provisions of the erstwhile ‘Listing Agreement’ and the SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015′,” the filing said.

“The notice has been issued based on information furnished by the bank or its MD and CEO to diverse queries made by SEBI concerning dealings between the bank and Videocon Group and certain dealings allegedly between Videocon Group and Nupower, an entity in which Deepak Kochhar spouse of MD and CEO has economic interests.”

The bank said that appropriate responses would be submitted to SEBI in accordance with regulation.

The SEBI notice comes more than a month after nepotism and conflict of interest allegations were levelled against Kochhar. It has been alleged that Kochhar had wrongfully granted a loan to Videocon Group and that her husband’s company — NuPower Renewables — received a loan from the Videocon Group’s Chariman Venugopal Dhoot on a quid pro quo basis.

Chanda Kochhar on May 7 had said that private lender works under and abides by all regulatory norms and that it has been fully cooperating with regulatory and investigative agencies.

On March 29, ICICI Bank Chairman M.K. Sharma had said that reports alleging nepotism by Kochhar were unfounded and malicious in nature.

Saying that ICICI Bank’s exposure to the Videocon Group (Videocon Industries and 12 of its subsidiaries or associates as co-obligors) for a debt consolidation programme and for the group’s oil and gas capital expenditure programme aggregating approximately Rs 40,000 crore was less than 10 per cent.

Sharma had asserted that no individual bank employee has the ability to influence decisions of the credit committee.

He clarified that none of “the investors of NuPower Renewables are borrowers of ICICI Bank” and that Kochhar did not chair the committee that had lent to Videocon.

In addition, Sharma said at the press briefing that Kochhar has been making all her disclosures in accordance with the regulatory guidelines under the Companies Act and the Banking Act.

Sharma revealed that the bank has ‘satisfactorily’ replied to the questions of all the regulators, which he described as an ongoing process between “a regulated entity like a bank and the regulators and other government departments”.

In 2012, a consortium of 20 banks and financial institutions sanctioned credit facilities to the Videocon Group for a debt consolidation programme and for its oil and gas capital expenditure programme aggregating to approximately Rs 40,000 crore.

IANS

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Equity indices rise as oil prices fall

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Mumbai, May 25: A fall in global crude oil prices and value buying lifted the key Indian equity indices on Friday.

As per the exchanges’ data, robust buying support was seen in oil and gas, auto and banking stocks.

However, geopolitical uncertainties after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the planned talks with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un capped gains.

At 3.30 p.m., the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) provisionally closed at 10,605.15 points, up 91.30 points or 0.87 per cent from the previous close of 10,513.85 points.

Similarly, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had opened at 34,753.47 points, closed at 34,924.87 points (3.30 p.m.) — up 261.76 points or 0.76 per cent — from its previous session’s close of 34,663.11 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 35,017.93 and a low of 34,700.52 points. The BSE market breadth was bullish with 1,635 advances and 1,001 declines.

The major gainers on the BSE were ONGC, Tata Steel, Yes Bank, IndusInd Bank and Adani Ports while Coal India, ITC, State Bank of India (SBI), Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and ICICI Bank were the major losers.

On the NSE, the top gainers were IndianOil, Indiabulls Housing Finance and Hindalco Industries. The major losers were Bharti Infratel, Tech Mahindra and Coal India.

IANS

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Samsung must pay Apple $539mn in patent lawsuit: US court

Under the US patent law, infringement of a design patent can result in a plaintiff receiving total profits made through the product.

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San Francisco, May 25 (IANS) A US court has finally asked Samsung to pay $539 million to Apple for copying patented iPhone designs, after the two giants got entangled in a legal battle in 2011.

According to a report in Fortune late Thursday, Samsung was found liable in the initial verdict in 2012 and was initially asked to pay over $1 billion to Apple but the amount was later reduced in further court hearings.

Under the US patent law, infringement of a design patent can result in a plaintiff receiving total profits made through the product.

Samsung’s lawyers appealed the case, bringing down the compensation of $1 billion to $400 million in 2015 at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

This time, a jury in a northern California US district court in San Jose deliberated for five days to decide the fresh penalty in a case that alleged that Samsung’s Android handsets used design elements stolen from the iPhone maker.

“We’re grateful to the jury for their service and pleased they agree that Samsung should pay for copying our products,” Apple said in a statement.

“This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple,” the statement said.

Samsung, however, was displeased with the verdict.

“Today’s decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favoor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages,” Samsung said in its statement.

“We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers,” reported The Registrar, quoting the statement from the South Korean giant.

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