The country's largest lender SBI on Tuesday said it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bank of China to boost business opportunities. Bank of China is the third-largest bank in the world by capital size and one of the major players in the Chinese banking sector. Through this agreement, both SBI and BoC will gain direct access to their respective markets of operation. Clients of both the banks will be able to use the vast combined network to expand their businesses abroad. SBI has a branch in Shanghai and BOC is opening its branch in Mumbai.
Etihad Airways CEO Tony Douglas is believed to have formally conveyed to SBI, Jet Airways’ top lender, that it won’t make any further investment in Jet. Etihad Airways owns 24% in Jet. Etihad Airways and Jet’s lenders have not been able to form a consensus around the resolution plan. Jet’s lenders had reportedly told Etihad it could exit if didn’t agree to conditions in the resolution plan. Etihad had refused an immediate infusion of Rs 750 crore into Jet as demanded by the lenders.
SBI, one of the lead lenders to Vijay Mallya’s companies, has moved the Karnataka High Court to seek rights over a 2.8% stake, worth Rs 1,025 crore, in beer maker United Breweries Ltd (UBL). The stake was held by United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd, the holding company for all Mallya-owned companies which is currently under liquidation. The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) had last week transferred the stake, over 74.04 lakh shares, held by United Breweries (Holdings) to the liquidator.
The NCLAT refused to pass an order to direct lenders of Reliance Communications led by SBI to release income tax refunds of Rs 260 crore held in a trust fund. RCom must pay the Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson its remaining dues of Rs 453 crore by Tuesday to avoid its chairman Anil Ambani from serving a jail term. The appellate tribunal also said RCom is free to request the Supreme Court to order SBI and other lenders to release the funds. Lenders have argued that public money cannot be used to settle payments to a private party.
India’s largest bank, State Bank of India, has enabled cardless ATM withdrawals through its mobile application Yono. The bank is also facilitating payments at points-of-sale (PoS) terminals using the app. SBI Chairman Rajnish Kuar launched the Yono Cash service in Mumbai on Friday. The cardless withdrawal service will be rolled out at 16,500 ATMs initially and then extended to all 60,000 ATMs. The service enables the users to generate a dynamic code using the Yono app which will be valid for 30 minutes to withdraw money from the SBI ATM.
SBI has launched premium ‘doorstep banking’ services for senior citizens over 70 years of age, differently abled customers, or infirm persons (having medically certified chronic illness or disability), and those who are visually impaired. The facility will be available for customers living within a 5-kilometre radius of select bank branches. These services are available against payment of Rs 100 fee for financial transactions and Rs 60 for non-financial transactions. The RBI has directed banks to offer doorstep banking to those who cannot make it to bank branches.
SBI -led Joint Lenders’ Forum told the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) that Reliance Communications (RCom) should pay Ericsson on its own. The lender refused to release the Rs 266 crore worth of income-tax returns that RCom wants to use to pay the Swedish telecom equipment maker. The lenders have a lien on the bank account in which the income tax money has been received. The NCLAT observed that the insolvency plea against RCom cannot commence until Ericsson dues are settled.
SBI has put on sale six non-performing accounts (NPAs) worth Rs 2,337.88 crore. The auction will be held on March 26. The bank is looking to sell all the accounts on a 100% cash basis to banks, asset reconstruction companies (ARCs), NBFCs and other financial institutions. The accounts are Indian Steel Corporation (Rs 928.88 crore), Jai Balaji Industries (Rs 859.33 crore), Kohinoor Planet Construction (Rs 207.77 crore), Mittal Corp (Rs 116.34 crore), MCL Global Steel (Rs 100.18 crore), Shree Vaishnav Ispat (Rs 82.52 crore) and Gati Infrastructure (Rs 42.86 crore).
SBI became the first bank to announce linking of its interest rates on deposits and loans to an external benchmark from May 1, 2019. This means, whenever the RBI announces a change in repo rate, it will automatically reset SBI’s interest rates. In savings account, with deposits balances above Rs 1 lakh, the effective interest rate will be 275 basis points (2.75%) below the repo rate, now at 6.255. With this, effective interest rate in savings account works out to be 3.5%. Other banks may follow suit linking their deposit and lending rates with the RBI’s repo rate.
In a first of its kind, the country's largest lender, SBI has announced linking of its savings deposit rate and short term loan rates to the external benchmark rate, the RBI's repo rate with effect from May 1. The move will help transmit benefits of rate cuts announced by the central bank from time to time. The new rates will be applicable to depositors with a balance of over Rs 1 lakh in their account. The bank has linked cash credit and overdraft accounts with limits above Rs 1 lakh to the repo rate along with a spread of 2.25%.
Mukesh Ambani moved up six places to occupy the 13th position on the US magazine Forbes' "World's Billionaire list 2019". Reliance Industries chairman is now worth $50 billion, up from $40.1 billion in 2018 when he was ranked 19th. Others in the top-100 billionaires' list include Wipro Chairman Azim Premji at rank 36th and ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal at 91st position. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos continued to remain the world's richest man with a net worth of $131 billion, followed by Bill Gates at $96.5 billion and Warren Buffett at $82.5 billion.
Global Investment firm Carlyle Group has acquired a 9% stake in SBI Life Insurance. SBI remains the majority shareholder with 62.1 % stake in the company. BNP Paribas Cardif sold its 9.2% stake in the insurance company. At the current market price, Carlyle would have paid Rs 5,445 crore for the nine crore shares picked up from the open market.
In an RTI reply, the country’s largest lender SBI said that 1,885 cases of fraud involving Rs 7,951.29 crore have been detected during the first nine months of the current fiscal year. The first quarter reported 669 cases of fraudulent activities amounting to Rs 723.06 crore, the second quarter saw 660 cases involving a Rs 4,832.42 crore and the third quarter reported 556 cases amounting to Rs 2,395.81-crore. The bank also did not disclose the details of these frauds such as due to phishing/online/debit/credit cards fraudulent transactions or borrowers engaging in fraudulent activities with the borrowed money.
RCom faced objections from its lenders against a plea filed before the NCLAT seeking waiver of the moratorium. The NCLAT, on February 4, had said that until further orders of the NCLAT or the Supreme Court, no one can sell, alienate, or create third party rights over RCom's assets. The financial lenders have objected to the company’s plea to utilize the Income-tax refunds to clear dues of telecom equipment maker Ericsson. The Supreme Court on February 20 had found Anil Ambani guilty of court contempt and directed RCom to pay Rs 473 crore to Ericsson within 4 weeks.
The government is looking at the possibility of merging regional rural banks (RRBs) operating within the same state. The government wants to consolidate the existing RRBs, eventually bringing them down to around 10-15. There are 56 RRBs functioning in the country, and SBI is the biggest sponsor with 14 RRBs. At present, the Centre holds a 50% stake in RRBs, while 35% and 15% are held with the sponsor banks and state governments, respectively. In January, three regional rural banks (RRBs) — Punjab Gramin Bank, Malwa Gramin Bank, and Sutlej Gramin Bank — were merged into a single entity.