May 11, 2018 / 10:53 AM / 14 days ago

Bad loans push four Indian state banks to combined $1.74 billion fourth-quarter loss

BENGALURU/MUMBAI (Reuters) - Four Indian state banks reported on Friday a combined net loss of 117.29 billion rupees ($1.74 billion) for the fiscal fourth quarter due to a jump in bad-loan provisions following a tightening of the Reserve Bank of India rules.

A man walks past a Canara Bank office in Mumbai, January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/Files

Bengaluru-headquartered Canara Bank Ltd, the biggest of the four, said its net loss was 48.6 billion rupees for the three months to March 31, compared with a net profit of 2.14 billion rupees a year earlier.

Allahabad Bank reported a net loss of 35.1 billion rupees and UCO Bank a 21.34 billion rupee loss. Dena Bank, the smallest of the four, made a net loss of 12.25 billion rupees.

Indian banks, already burdened by a near-record 9.5 trillion rupees of soured loans as of last year, were expected to report a further rise in bad loans in the March quarter after the central bank withdrew half a dozen loan-restructuring schemes and tightened some rules in February.

New Delhi owns majority stakes in 21 lenders that account for the bulk of the sector’s bad loans, forcing the government to announce a $32 billion bailout package to help the lenders set aside funds for the soured loans and kickstart new lending.

Canara Bank’s gross non-performing loans as a percentage of total loans rose to 11.84 percent at the end of March, compared with 10.38 percent in the preceding quarter and 9.63 percent a year earlier. Provisions for non-performing assets almost tripled from a year earlier to 87.63 billion rupees.

Allahabad, UCO and Dena also saw their bad loans and provisions for bad loans rise sharply in the quarter.

Union Bank of India, also state-run, reported on Thursday a 25.83 billion rupee net loss for the fourth quarter.

Top state lenders State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda and Bank of India are due to report fourth quarter results in the coming days.

($1 = 67.2750 Indian rupees)

A rickshaw puller passes the Canara Bank branch in the old quarters of Delhi, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

Reporting by Vishal Sridhar, Devidutta Tripathy and Aby Jose Koilparambil; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter

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