RBI gives breather to banks on Basel III; SMEs to benefit

Mumbai, Jun 11 (KNN)  In a move that may ease pressure of tougher Basel III banking norms on credit disbursal to SMEs, the RBI has said that the new rules will be implemented in a phased manner from January, 2015.

RBI has finalized the banks’ liquidity coverage ratio plan and has said that the Basel III liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) will be introduced in a phased manner with a requirement of 60 per cent from January, 2015. 

LCR is a concept to promote short term liquidity with the banks by ensuring that they have sufficient high quality liquid assets (HQLAs) to survive an acute stress scenario lasting for 30 days. 

According to the LCR concept, financial institutions should have 100 per cent assets back-up to ride out short-term liquidity disruptions.

RBI yesterday released the final Basel III framework on liquidity standards, which includes guidelines on liquidity coverage ratio (LCR), liquidity risk monitoring tools and LCR disclosure standards. 

"The LCR requirement would be binding on banks from January 1, 2015. With a view to provide a transition time for banks, the requirement would be minimum 60 per cent for the calendar year 2015, with effect from January 1, 2015," the RBI said in a release. 

In the first bi-monthly monetary policy announced in April this year, the RBI had proposed to issue guidelines relating to Basel III LCR and liquidity risk monitoring tools by end-May 2014. 

The RBI further said the LCR requirement would rise in equal steps to reach the minimum required level of 100 per cent on January 1, 2019. 

"Banks should, however, strive to achieve a higher ratio than the minimum prescribed above as an effort towards better liquidity risk management," it added. 

RBI said that with effect from January 1, 2019, after the phase-in arrangements are complete, the LCR should be minimum 100 per cent on an ongoing basis because the stock of unencumbered high quality liquid assets (HQLA) is intended to serve as a defence against the potential onset of liquidity stress. 

"During a period of financial stress, however, banks may use their stock of HQLA, and thereby falling below 100 per cent," it said. 

Banks would be required to immediately report to the RBI for any such use of stock of HQLA along with reasons for such usage and corrective steps initiated to rectify the situation, it said. 

The central bank also asked banks to disclose information on their LCR in their annual financial statements starting with the financial year ending March 31, 2015.