RBI Allows Compromise Settlement for Wilful Defaulters

RBI Allows Compromise Settlement for Wilful Defaulters
Posted on 16-06-2023

RBI Allows Compromise Settlement for Wilful Defaulters: Impact on Banking System and Loan Recovery


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently made headlines by permitting wilful defaulters and loan accounts involved in fraudulent activities to enter into compromise settlements with banks to settle their outstanding dues. However, this decision has raised concerns about its potential negative impact on the integrity of the banking system and loan recovery efforts.


Understanding Compromise Settlement:

A compromise settlement involves a negotiated agreement between a borrower and a bank, wherein the borrower proposes to pay an amount lower than the total outstanding debt. If accepted by the bank, this reduced amount is considered a full and final settlement. As part of this arrangement, the bank typically writes off or waives a portion of the borrower's dues, which occurs only once.


Wilful Defaulters:

Wilful defaulters are borrowers who possess the means to repay their loans but intentionally fail to do so. They may divert the borrowed funds for purposes other than the intended ones, misuse the funds, or sell off collateral assets without the bank's knowledge. According to the RBI, there were 15,778 wilful default accounts involving an amount of Rs 340,570 crore as of December 2022.


RBI's Circular and Concerns:

The RBI's circular allows banks to engage in compromise settlements or technical write-offs for accounts belonging to wilful defaulters or fraud cases, without affecting ongoing criminal proceedings against these debtors. Furthermore, banks are required to implement a minimum cooling period of at least 12 months before extending fresh loans to individuals or companies that have undergone compromise settlements.


Detrimental Implications:

Critics argue that this decision compromises the integrity of the banking system and undermines efforts to effectively tackle wilful defaulters. It not only rewards unscrupulous borrowers but also sends a disheartening message to honest borrowers who diligently fulfill their financial obligations. Wilful defaults have significant ramifications for the financial stability of banks and the overall economy, and condoning these actions through compromise settlements places the burden on ordinary citizens.


Significance of Loan Recovery:

Loan recovery plays a vital role in safeguarding the interests of depositors and other stakeholders. Failure to recover non-performing assets (NPAs), which are loans or advances with overdue principal or interest payments for more than 90 days, ultimately impacts depositors and stakeholders. Therefore, any compromise settlement should prioritize the objective of recovering dues to the maximum extent possible, minimizing expenses, and achieving a swift resolution.



The RBI's decision to allow compromise settlements for wilful defaulters has raised concerns about its potential impact on the banking system's integrity and loan recovery efforts. While recovery of dues is crucial to protect stakeholders' interests, it is essential to strike a balance between providing relief and ensuring accountability. Stricter measures and diligent scrutiny are necessary to combat wilful defaults effectively and maintain the stability of the financial ecosystem.

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