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In the latest RBI notification, RBI has mandated banks to fully automate NPA classification and provisioning calculation process. Under the new regime, all borrower accounts will be covered, and lenders will have time until 30th June 2021 to complete this process.
RBI observed that in spite of its instructions issued on 4th of August 2011 to use IT systems in place for identification for NPA that is Non-Performing Assets and generation of related data/returns for regulatory reporting and for bank’s own MIS requirements, the processes for NPA identification, income recognition, provisioning and generation of the related returns in many banks were not fully automated.
It observed that they were still sticking to manual identification of NPA and were also overriding the system generated asset classification by manual intervention in a routine way, which was a clear violation of its instructions.
RBI further stated in the RBI notification that to ensure the completeness and integrity of automated asset classification, provisioning classification, and income recognition processes, banks were advised to upgrade their system in order to conform to the prescribed guidelines latest by 30th June 2021.
The RBI has stated that all borrower accounts, including the temporary overdrafts, regardless of size, sector, or types of limits, will be covered in the automated IT-based system for asset classification, up-gradation, and provisioning processes.
Further asset classification rules would be configured in the system in compliance with the regulatory stipulations. RBI noted that a system-driven approach was not there in respect of income recognition/de-recognition in case of impaired assets (NPAs and NPIs), the amount needed to be reversed form the income account and handling downgrade and upgrade of accounts through Straight Through Process. It did not like the continuance of human intervention at every level to bypass the system driven methods.
The RBI notification states that the system based asset classification will be an ongoing exercise for down gradation and up-gradation of accounts. It said that banks must ensure that the asset classification status is updated as part of the day end process.
It further stated that banks should be able to generate a classification status report at any time with the actual date of classification of assets as Non-Performing Assets/Non-Performing Investments.
Exceptions provided by the RBI:
The RBI notification stated that in case a separate application outside the CBS system is used as the system for the identification and or classification of NPA/NPI, the system should have access to the required data from CBS and or other relevant applications of the bank and the borrower/investment accounts has to be updated back into the CBS automatically, wherever applicable through Straight Through Process.
Further, there should be a periodic system audit at least once in a year by internal/ external auditors duly certified on system parameters as also from the perspective of compliance to income recognition, asset classification, and provisioning guidelines.
The RBI notification states that data input in the system by any means should be fully captured and stored without truncation. For e.g., Timestamp- with date and time, narration field, or any other text data captured.
The banks are required to ensure the presence of necessary validation/verification checks in the solution for the user inputs, wherever applicable, and such validations, among other things, must check for data type validations, minimum/ maximum value, exceptions, etc.
The RBI has stated that such manual validations done with master data (or parameters used in asset classification fed into the system according to the internal policy of the bank) can prevent issues relating to the incorrect entries seen in margin setting, moratorium period, security valuation, repayment schedule, products mapped or linked to different categories of account holders (as per applicability), etc. The data input shall be effected only after authentication and authorization.
The Reserve Bank has provided some technical instructions in the RBI notification. These include:
To provide for straight-through processing and support for straight-through processing integration with all critical systems/add on sub-systems/modules etc. in a seamless and secure way for NPA/NPI classification as per existing guidelines on Income Recognition and Asset Classification (IRAC).
Any changes to data, parameters from the backend will be avoided. The solution should provide for changes to data only through front end. Audit trails/logs of access, changes to any data, parameters should be captured with specific user details in the system.
Provisions of audit trails/logs to capture the details of the mandatory fields (that are important to complete the transaction and to identify the transaction for audit/forensic purpose in the future) of all the transactions (financial and non-financial) should be made, and logs shall be maintained for changing the master data.
In the RBI notification, it has also been instructed that system-generated activity logs of the users and administrative privileges should also be maintained. Secure storage and retention of logs encrypted format with access control in an archival solution.
It is prescribed that all parameters needed for NPA/NPI identification will be captured in the CBS or associated sub/systems/modules meant for NPA/NPI identification/classification of asset codes according to the Income Recognition and Asset Classification norms and extant guidelines.
It has also stated that provision for MIS report capturing all parameters for NPA/NPI identification would be required, and such parameters could either be configured in the database or application itself according to the architecture of the solution/Sub-system.
The existing test environment in the bank with the dummy data and the functional logic similar to the product environment of the solution is required to be made available to the supervisors during their onsite supervisory visits as per the requirements.
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