Over the last few quarters, investors in YES Bank have got used to negative news about the beleaguered private sector bank over a range of issues such as rising non-performing assets, a non-committal board, credit rating downgrades, and the moratorium on withdrawals—the latest.

The worst seems to be over for YES Bank with the moratorium, imposed on March 5, ending at 6 p.m. on March 18. Community investments by public and private sector banks and financial institutions will take care of the bank’s immediate capital requirement.

Prashant Kumar, the former deputy MD and CFO of State Bank of India (SBI) who is to take over the reins of YES Bank as its MD & CEO upon vacating the administrator’s post, along with SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar, conveyed to YES Bank depositors that finally all was well with YES Bank.

“Within 13 days, the entire scheme was implemented,” Kumar said. “Apart from the equity infusion by SBI and seven other lenders, our team in YES Bank started assuring customers and extending services within terms stipulated under moratorium.”

Kumar echoed Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das’s words that there was no cause for worry as to deposits in private banks. The assurance from the central bank and the reassurance from Kumar with the SBI chairman on his side are much needed to prevent a run on the bank when the moratorium ends—primarily because the bank posted a quarterly loss of a whopping ₹18,564 crore for the quarter ended December 2019. “We have taken adequate precautions, all our ATMs are full with cash, and branches have adequate supply,” Kumar said. “All our branches and employees are ready.”

YES Bank recorded a toxic 57.91% growth in its gross NPA in just one quarter, from ₹17,134.4 crore in September to ₹40,709.2 crore in December 2019. Net NPA also grew by 13.91% from ₹9,757.2 crore to ₹11,114.7 crore in the same period.

If gross and net NPAs as percentages of YES Bank’s assets at 18.87% and 5.97% are not scary enough, the bank’s already narrow bank deposits base is bound to give jitters to the new management and investors. Compared to ₹2,22,758 crore in December 2018, deposits fell by ₹57,003 crore—25.59%—to ₹1,65,755 crore in December 2019. Compared to September 2019, the deposit base fell by ₹43,742 crore—20.88%—from ₹2,09,497 crore. And, on the eve of moratorium imposition (March 5) at ₹1,37,506 crore, YES Bank’s deposits base saw a decline of ₹28,249 crore—17.04%—compared to December 2019.

But, Kumar looked unruffled as he claimed that YES Bank had already made all its calculations about customer behaviour. “Only one-third of our customers have withdrawn ₹50,000 during the moratorium,” Kumar said. “Customers’ feedback is that they don't feel the need to withdraw money from the bank,” Kumar added while claiming that the bank witnessed higher inflows than outflows in the last few days.

“The bank has sufficient funding lines to meet any funding requirement,” Kumar told with confidence. “The ₹10,000-crore capital infusion will help the bank meet the RBI’s capital requirements,” he said, adding that the next round of fund-raising will take care of any additional capital requirements.

SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar too tried to allay fears by saying that “there was enough money available”—the reason why “in the first stage we took the conscious decision to limit the fund-raising exercise within domestic banks”.

For now, as the immediate capital infusion will help YES Bank tide over the regulatory requirements of minimum capital, and as the NPAs have been provided for there is hope that the worst for the beleaguered bank will end soon.

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