Post the Nirav Modi scam, the Punjab National Bank has embarked upon 'Mission Gandhigiri.' The staff of the bank are sitting silently with placards outside the offices and residences of defaulters with the hope and naming and shaming such borrowers.
'Mission Gandhigiri' is aimed at recovering Rs 150 crore worth of bad loans every month. The state-owned lender, which has been at the receiving end of the over Rs 13,000 crore fraud involving diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, on Friday said it is intensifying the initiative, amid rising concerns over non-performing assets in the banking system.
Under 'Mission Gandhigiri', a recovery mechanism launched by PNB in May 2017, a team visits the borrower's office or residence and sits there silently. Currently, there are 1,144 field staff members who are driving the mission.
"Through this initiative, the recovery team wishes to achieve its primary objective of getting these defaulters to the negotiation table and aim to recover Rs 100-150 crore in a month," the bank said in a statement.
Following the government's directions regarding wilful defaulters, PNB said it has taken a lead by taking strong steps over the past few weeks.
"The bank has already declared 1,084 wilful defaulters and published photos of 260 such defaulters in newspapers," it said.
The bank further said due to its aggressive stance towards wilful defaulters, 150 passports have been impounded over the past few months and the bank has also lodged 37 FIRs against defaulters.
Also, in a bid to leverage data analytics for loan recovery and risk management, the bank said it has tied up with a leading credit agency.
"This partnership will not only help the bank with loan recovery but will also help identify and automate profitable lending strategies and minimise credit and fraud risk," it said.
The bank is also working towards improving internal systems by incorporating analytics and artificial intelligence for the reconciliation of accounts.
PNB also said its two special 'One Time Settlement' (OTS) schemes have helped accelerate NPA recovery.
As per the bank, from an average of recovering loan amount from 70,000-80,000 NPA accounts in a year, OTS has resulted in recovery from 2,25,000 NPA accounts over a span of 10 months.
The bank had gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of Rs 57,519 crore or 12.11 per cent of gross advances as of December 2017.