Yes Bank repays full Rs 50,000 crore to RBI, says no merger plans with SBI

Yes Bank today said it has fully repaid Reserve Bank of India (RBI) the entire Rs 50,000 crore of Special Liquidity Facility it had availed. The Chairman of the bank, Sunil Mehta, confirmed the development at the virtual Annual General Meeting of the shareholders held on Thursday.

“We have fully repaid the entire sum of Rs 50,000 crores of SLF to RBI as on September 8,” Mehta told shareholders. The special liquidity line was extended to Yes Bank in March when it was coming out of the moratorium to make up for any large deposit withdrawals. Its window was first given for a three month period and later extended till mid-September.  The Chairman added that since Yes Bank’s reconstruction in March, it had received “strong customer liquidity inflows,” and that deposits were accruing on a monthly basis now.

Addressing investor queries on whether the bank was going to be merged with State Bank of India eventually, Mehta said that no such plans were afoot. He added that neither the bank nor any authority had discussed such a proposal as far as he knew.

Some investors at the bank raised concerns about the bank’s decision to freeze their stake for a number of years after its reconstruction. Prashant Kumar, the MD & CEO of the bank responded to that saying the decision to freeze shares for the next 3 years was taken keeping the larger interest of all shareholders in mind.

The CEO said that the bank was able to bring down costs by almost 20 percent in the first quarter, and has now appointed a consultant to look at medium and long term cost rationalisation measures. Kumar alluded to the fact that holding a virtual annual general meeting (AGM) had enabled the bank to save as much as Rs 90 lakhs. “It cost us Rs 1 crore to hold the (physical) AGM last year, and this year it only cost us Rs 10 lakhs,” he said, adding that the bank would take guidance from its shareholders on whether to continue with this format.

Speaking about the bank’s financial performance, Prashant Kumar said that a dedicated team of 80 people was working only on recovery of legacy bad loans, and he hopes that a substantial portion of the book would have been recovered over the next two to three years.

“We are working to expand the balance sheet size…We target to double the deposit base by end of the next financial year, and we Want to increase the loan book by 10 percent in this financial year and 20 percent in the next financial year,” he added. He said that the bank would target growing the retail book to 60 percent of the total loan portfolio, from 45 percent currently.

“We will ensure we do not commit mistakes of the past. Lots of steps have been taken to improve risk management practices and credit underwriting skills at the bank,” he told shareholders.

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