RBI COVID-19 – Reliefs and Package

rbi-covid-19-reliefs-and-package

RBI's COVID-19 Regulatory Package: From Repo Rate & CRR Cuts to 3-months moratorium on term loans, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das announced several measures while addressing the media on March 27, 2020.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on March 27, 2020 announced a Regulatory Package on COVID-19 to tackle the impact of deadly Coronavirus on Indian Economy.

The RBI Governor's press conference comes after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a Rs 1.70 lakh crore relief package for the poor on March 26.

The most discussed measure of the Reserve Bank of India is the three-month moratorium on repayment of term loans and interest on working capital. Moratorium period refers to the period of time during which borrowers do not have to pay an equated monthly instalment or EMI on the loan taken. During the moratorium, borrower's credit score is not impacted adversely.

Initially, there was a confusion on whether credit card dues would be part of 3-month moratorium

RBI said that credit card dues won’t be part of the moratorium as it’s not part of term loan. However, a few hours later RBI has clarified that credit card dues are included in the term loans on which banks can offer a 3-month moratorium.




COVID-19 – Regulatory Package (Revised)

RBI/2019-20/186
DOR.No.BP.BC.47/21.04.048/2019-20
March 27, 2020
All Commercial Banks (including Small Finance Banks, Local Area Banks and Regional Rural Banks)
All Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks/State Co-operative Banks/ District Central Co-operative Banks
All All-India Financial Institutions
All Non-Banking Finance Companies (including Housing Finance Companies)

Madam/Dear Sir,

COVID-19 – Regulatory Package
Please refer to the Statement of Development and Regulatory Policies released on March 27, 2020 where inter alia certain regulatory measures were announced to mitigate the burden of debt servicing brought about by disruptions on account of COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the continuity of viable businesses. In this regard, the detailed instructions are as follows:
(i) Rescheduling of Payments – Term Loans and Working Capital Facilities
2. In respect of all term loans (including agricultural term loans, retail and crop loans), all commercial banks (including regional rural banks, small finance banks and local area banks), co-operative banks, all-India Financial Institutions, and NBFCs (including housing finance companies) (“lending institutions”) are permitted to grant a moratorium of three months on payment of all instalments1 falling due between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020. The repayment schedule for such loans as also the residual tenor, will be shifted across the board by three months after the moratorium period. Interest shall continue to accrue on the outstanding portion of the term loans during the moratorium period.
3. In respect of working capital facilities sanctioned in the form of cash credit/overdraft (“CC/OD”), lending institutions are permitted to defer the recovery of interest applied in respect of all such facilities during the period from March 1, 2020 upto May 31, 2020 (“deferment”). The accumulated accrued interest shall be recovered immediately after the completion of this period.
(ii) Easing of Working Capital Financing
4. In respect of working capital facilities sanctioned in the form of CC/OD to borrowers facing stress on account of the economic fallout of the pandemic, lending institutions may recalculate the ‘drawing power’ by reducing the margins and/or by reassessing the working capital cycle. This relief shall be available in respect of all such changes effected up to May 31, 2020 and shall be contingent on the lending institutions satisfying themselves that the same is necessitated on account of the economic fallout from COVID-19. Further, accounts provided relief under these instructions shall be subject to subsequent supervisory review with regard to their justifiability on account of the economic fallout from COVID-19.
Classification as Special Mention Account (SMA) and Non-Performing Asset (NPA)
5. Since the moratorium/deferment/recalculation of the ‘drawing power’ is being provided specifically to enable the borrowers to tide over economic fallout from COVID-19, the same will not be treated as concession or change in terms and conditions of loan agreements due to financial difficulty of the borrower under paragraph 2 of the Annex to the Reserve Bank of India (Prudential Framework for Resolution of Stressed Assets) Directions, 2019 dated June 7, 2019 (“Prudential Framework”). Consequently, such a measure, by itself, shall not result in asset classification downgrade.
6. The asset classification of term loans which are granted relief as per paragraph 2 shall be determined on the basis of revised due dates and the revised repayment schedule. Similarly, working capital facilities where relief is provided as per paragraph 3 above, the SMA and the out of order status shall be evaluated considering the application of accumulated interest immediately after the completion of the deferment period as well as the revised terms, as permitted in terms of paragraph 4 above.
7. The rescheduling of payments, including interest, will not qualify as a default for the purposes of supervisory reporting and reporting to Credit Information Companies (CICs) by the lending institutions. CICs shall ensure that the actions taken by lending institutions pursuant to the above announcements do not adversely impact the credit history of the beneficiaries.
Other Conditions
8. Lending institutions shall frame Board approved polices for providing the above-mentioned reliefs to all eligible borrowers, inter alia, including the objective criteria for considering reliefs under paragraph 4 above and disclosed in public domain.
9. Wherever the exposure of a lending institution to a borrower is ₹ 5 crore or above as on March 1, 2020, the bank shall develop an MIS on the reliefs provided to its borrowers which shall inter alia include borrower-wise and credit-facility wise information regarding the nature and amount of relief granted.
10. The instructions in this circular come into force with immediate effect. The Board of Directors and the key management personnel of the lending institutions shall ensure that the above instructions are properly communicated down the line in their respective organisations, and clear instructions are issued to their staff regarding their implementation.
Yours faithfully,
(Saurav Sinha)
Chief General Manager-in-Charge

1 Instalments will include the following payments falling due from March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020: (i) principal and/or interest components; (ii) bullet repayments; (iii) Equated Monthly instalments; (iv) credit card dues.




Date: Mar 27, 2020


Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies


This Statement sets out various developmental and regulatory policies that directly address the stress in financial conditions caused by COVID-19. They consist of: (i) expanding liquidity in the system sizeably to ensure that financial markets and institutions are able to function normally in the face of COVID-related dislocations; (ii) reinforcing monetary transmission so that bank credit flows on easier terms are sustained to those who have been affected by the pandemic; (iii) easing financial stress caused by COVID-19 disruptions by relaxing repayment pressures and improving access to working capital; and (iv) improving the functioning of markets in view of the high volatility experienced with the onset and spread of the pandemic. The policy initiatives in this section should be read in conjunction with the MPC’s decision on monetary policy actions and stance in its resolution.
I. Liquidity Management
As stated earlier, the first set of measures is intended to ensure that adequate liquidity is available to all constituents so that COVID-19 related liquidity constraints are eased.
1. Targeted Long Term Repos Operations (TLTROs)
The onset and rapid propagation of COVID-19 in India has ignited large sell-offs in the domestic equity, bond and forex markets. With the intensification of redemption pressures, liquidity premia on instruments such as corporate bonds, commercial paper and debentures have surged. Combined with the thinning of trading activity with the COVID outbreak, financial conditions for these instruments, which are used, inter alia, to access working capital in the face of the slowdown in bank credit, have also tightened. In order to mitigate their adverse effects on economic activity leading to pressures on cash flows, it has been decided that the Reserve Bank will conduct auctions of targeted term repos of up to three years tenor of appropriate sizes for a total amount of up to ₹ 1,00,000 crore at a floating rate linked to the policy repo rate.
Liquidity availed under the scheme by banks has to be deployed in investment grade corporate bonds, commercial paper, and non-convertible debentures over and above the outstanding level of their investments in these bonds as on March 27, 2020. Banks shall be required to acquire up to fifty per cent of their incremental holdings of eligible instruments from primary market issuances and the remaining fifty per cent from the secondary market, including from mutual funds and non-banking finance companies. Investments made by banks under this facility will be classified as held to maturity (HTM) even in excess of 25 per cent of total investment permitted to be included in the HTM portfolio. Exposures under this facility will also not be reckoned under the large exposure framework.
The first TLTRO auction will be held today (March 27, 2020). Following a review of the outcome of this auction, the subsequent TLTRO auctions will be announced. Details about this facility are being issued separately.
2. Cash Reserve Ratio
a. Liquidity in the banking system remains ample, as reflected in absorption of surpluses from the banking system under reverse repo operations of the LAF of the order of ₹ 2.86 lakh crore on a daily average basis during March 1-25, 2020. It is observed, however, that the distribution of this liquidity is highly asymmetrical across the financial system, and starkly so within the banking system.
As a one-time measure to help banks tide over the disruption caused by COVID-19, it has been decided to reduce the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of all banks by 100 basis points to 3.0 per cent of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) with effect from the reporting fortnight beginning March 28, 2020. This reduction in the CRR would release primary liquidity of about ₹ 1,37,000 crore uniformly across the banking system in proportion to liabilities of constituents rather than in relation to holdings of excess SLR. This dispensation will be available for a period of one year ending on March 26, 2021.
b. Furthermore, taking cognisance of hardships faced by banks in terms of social distancing of staff and consequent strains on reporting requirements, it has been decided to reduce the requirement of minimum daily CRR balance maintenance from 90 per cent to 80 per cent effective from the first day of the reporting fortnight beginning March 28, 2020. This is a one-time dispensation available up to June 26, 2020.
3. Marginal Standing Facility
Under the marginal standing facility (MSF), banks can borrow overnight at their discretion by dipping up to 2 per cent into the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR). In view of the exceptionally high volatility in domestic financial markets which bring in phases of liquidity stress and to provide comfort to the banking system, it has been decided to increase the limit of 2 per cent to 3 per cent with immediate effect. This measure will be applicable up to June 30, 2020. This is intended to provide comfort to the banking system by allowing it to avail an additional ₹ 1,37,000 crore of liquidity under the LAF window in times of stress at the reduced MSF rate announced in the MPC’s resolution.
These three measures relating to TLTRO, CRR and MSF will inject a total liquidity of ₹ 3.74 lakh crore to the system.
4. Widening of the Monetary Policy Rate Corridor
In view of persistent excess liquidity, it has been decided to widen the existing policy rate corridor from 50 bps to 65 bps. Under the new corridor, the reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) would be 40 bps lower than the policy repo rate. The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate would continue to be 25 bps above the policy repo rate.
II. Regulation and Supervision
Alongside liquidity measures, it is important that efforts are undertaken to mitigate the burden of debt servicing brought about by disruptions on account of the fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such efforts, in turn, will prevent the transmission of financial stress to the real economy, and will ensure the continuity of viable businesses and provide relief to borrowers in these extraordinarily troubled times.
5. Moratorium on Term Loans
All commercial banks (including regional rural banks, small finance banks and local area banks), co-operative banks, all-India Financial Institutions, and NBFCs (including housing finance companies and micro-finance institutions) (“lending institutions”) are being permitted to allow a moratorium of three months on payment of instalments in respect of all term loans outstanding as on March 1, 2020. Accordingly, the repayment schedule and all subsequent due dates, as also the tenor for such loans, may be shifted across the board by three months.
6. Deferment of Interest on Working Capital Facilities
In respect of working capital facilities sanctioned in the form of cash credit/overdraft, lending institutions are being permitted to allow a deferment of three months on payment of interest in respect of all such facilities outstanding as on March 1, 2020. The accumulated interest for the period will be paid after the expiry of the deferment period.
In respect of paragraphs 5 and 6 above, the moratorium/deferment is being provided specifically to enable the borrowers to tide over the economic fallout from COVID-19. Hence, the same will not be treated as change in terms and conditions of loan agreements due to financial difficulty of the borrowers and, consequently, will not result in asset classification downgrade. The lending institutions may accordingly put in place a Board approved policy in this regard.
7. Easing of Working Capital Financing
In respect of working capital facilities sanctioned in the form of cash credit/overdraft, lending institutions may recalculate drawing power by reducing margins and/or by reassessing the working capital cycle for the borrowers. Such changes in credit terms permitted to the borrowers to specifically tide over the economic fallout from COVID-19 will not be treated as concessions granted due to financial difficulties of the borrower, and consequently, will not result in asset classification downgrade.
In respect of paragraphs 5, 6 and 7, the rescheduling of payments will not qualify as a default for the purposes of supervisory reporting and reporting to credit information companies (CICs) by the lending institutions. CICs shall ensure that the actions taken by lending institutions pursuant to the above announcements do not adversely impact the credit history of the beneficiaries.
8. Deferment of Implementation of Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR)
As part of reforms undertaken in the years following the global financial crisis, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) had introduced the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) which reduces funding risk by requiring banks to fund their activities with sufficiently stable sources of funding over a time horizon of a year in order to mitigate the risk of future funding stress. As per the prescribed timeline, banks in India were required to maintain NSFR of 100 per cent from April 1, 2020. It has now been decided to defer the implementation of NSFR by six months from April 1, 2020 to October 1, 2020.
9. Deferment of Last Tranche of Capital Conservation Buffer
The capital conservation buffer (CCB) is designed to ensure that banks build up capital buffers during normal times (i.e., outside periods of stress) which can be drawn down as losses are incurred during a stressed period. As per Basel standards, the CCB was to be implemented in tranches of 0.625 per cent and the transition to full CCB of 2.5 per cent was set to be completed by March 31, 2019. It was subsequently decided to defer the implementation of the last tranche of 0.625 per cent of the CCB from March 31, 2019 to March 31, 2020. Considering the potential stress on account of COVID-19, it has been decided to further defer the implementation of the last tranche of 0.625 per cent of the CCB from March 31, 2020 to September 30, 2020. Consequently, the pre-specified trigger for loss absorption through conversion/write-down of Additional Tier 1 instruments (PNCPS and PDI) shall remain at 5.5 per cent of risk-weighted assets (RWAs) and will rise to 6.125 per cent of RWAs on September 30, 2020.
III. Financial Markets
The decision in respect of financial markets is essentially of a developmental nature, intended to improve depth and price discovery in the forex market segments by reducing arbitrage between onshore and offshore markets. This measure assumes greater importance in the context of the increased volatility of the rupee caused by the impact of COVID-19 on currency markets.
10. Permitting Banks to Deal in Offshore Non-Deliverable Rupee Derivative Markets (Offshore NDF Rupee Market)
The offshore Indian Rupee (INR) derivative market - the Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF) market - has been growing rapidly in recent times. At present, Indian banks are not permitted to participate in this market, although the benefits of their participation in the NDF market have been widely recognised. All aspects of the issue have been examined in detail and a consensus has emerged in RBI that the time is apposite to remove segmentation between the onshore and offshore markets and improve efficiency of price discovery. Accordingly, it has been decided, in consultation with the Government, to permit banks in India which operate International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) Banking Units (IBUs) to participate in the NDF market with effect from June 1, 2020. Banks may participate through their branches in India, their foreign branches or through their IBUs. Final directions are being issued today.
(Yogesh Dayal)    
Chief General Manager

Source: Reserve Bank of India


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