Shares of the country’s leading private sector lender – IndusInd Bank – fell as much as 12.36 per cent to hit an intraday low of Rs 1,042.10 on the BSE after a report suggested that whistleblowers raised issue of ever greening of loans at its arm Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited (BFIL). Whistleblowers including a group of senior employees at Bharat Financial Inclusion alerted the Reserve Bank of India and the board of IndusInd Bank about lapses in governance and accounting norms to allegedly ‘evergreen’ loans running into thousands of crores since the outbreak of Covid-19, The Economic Times newspaper reported on November 5. Meanwhile, IndusInd Bank has clarified that the allegations made by by certain anonymous individuals purportedly acting as whistleblowers are grossly inaccurate and baseless.
“All the loan products managed by BFIL in the capacity of a Business Correspondent, are approved by IndusInd Bank and are fully compliant with extant regulatory guidelines, issued from time to time. The processes followed by BFIL pass through audit, inspection, and risk and compliance checks. The NPA recognition process is fully automated in accordance with the regulatory norms that are applicable to the Bank,” IndusInd Bank said in a press release.
The bank also denied allegations of ever greening of loans and said, “The Bank strongly denies the allegations of “evergreening”. All the loans originated and managed by BFIL, including during the Covid period which saw the first and second waves ravaging the countryside, are fully compliant with the regulatory guidelines. The Bank, through BFIL, provides micro loans to women in rural India for income generating activities under the Joint Liability Group format. This customer segment represents the bottom of pyramid in terms of economic wealth and is the target segment for Financial Inclusion.”
The bank added that there is strong g risk management and control framework in place, both within the Bank and at BFIL and it has initiated an independent review to see if there is any process lapse or accounting failure at BFIL.
As of 11:00 am, IndusInd Bank shares traded 10.87 per cent lower at Rs 1,059, underperforming the Sensex which was down 0.2 per cent.