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Title:FM tells banks to clean up balance sheets

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NEW DELHI: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday asked state-owned banks to clean up their balance sheets at the earliest, stressing that they have all the powers to deal with willful defaulters. The minister during his meeting with heads of public sector banks (PSBs) also reviewed interest rate in the light of key policy rate reduction by RBI in September.

Besides, the institutional measures being taken to assist banks in reducing NPAs were also discussed in the second quarterly performance review in six months. The gross NonPerforming Assets (NPAs) of public sector banks rose to 6.03% at the end of June, as against 5.2% in March this year.

"When we took assessment of certain sectors which had a higher level of NPAs, some particular defaulters which are common thread running across several banks did crop up for discussion," he told reporters after the meeting. The public sector banks, he said, "have all the powers... Banks today have full authority and autonomy to take action against them (defaulters)".

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