Banking News

Lenders, intelligence agencies in talks for alerts on deals by defaulters


Lenders have begun discussions with intelligence agencies on an early warning mechanism for timely detection and tracking of counterparty transactions in accounts of loan defaulters.

The proposed mechanism will ensure that such suspected transactions are flagged immediately, giving intelligence agencies enough time to take swift action, said people aware of the development.

“This is being actively pursued,” an official said on condition of anonymity, adding that counterparty transactions help investigating agencies track frauds, siphoning off of funds and other such illegal activities in accounts under the radar.

Under the existing framework in relation to large-value frauds, the finance ministry has asked state-run lenders to seek a report from the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) on any prospective borrower at the pre-sanction stage, renewal of an existing loan or non-performing asset (NPA) account for an amount of ₹50 crore and above.

Lenders, Intel Agencies in Talks for Alerts on Deals by Defaulters

Intelligence agencies now have a uniform format for the acquisition of information after the Reserve Bank of India-backed standard operating procedure proposed by banks for the submission of information or documents to the CEIB.

Agencies are also eying digitisation of the whole information network so that banks also have real-time information.

The latest move is expected to further bolster this framework.

The official said banks had also suggested there should be a threshold limit of ₹1 crore for providing details of counterparty transactions in such cases.

According to a banker, since multiple channels were used for various transactions, it was not possible for lenders to provide all counterparty details.

“Information for a longer period is not available in some cases, so if the agencies seek details on suspected transactions above a threshold value, that will help lenders provide details quickly,” said the banker, who did not wish to be identified.

As per government data, till March, there were around 2,438 borrowers with an outstanding amount of ₹2.66 lakh crore who defaulted, with an outstanding amount greater than ₹20 crore. MoS for finance Bhagwat Karad said in the Rajya Sabha that the Directorate of Enforcement had recorded 490 bank fraud cases related to NPAs of ₹20 crore or more in the past five years under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. Assets worth ₹15,113.02 crore had been confiscated and restituted to public sector banks.


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