November 30: Nepal Rastra Bank has become flexible towards loan defaulters considering that the number of people blacklisted by banks and financial institutions is rising due to their inability to repay loans on time owing to the economic recession.
The central bank on Wednesday amended the Unified Directives 2080 and relaxed the provision of blacklisting loan defaulters in the Credit Information Center.
According to the instructions of the NRB, now the banks and financial institutions will have to first auction the property of the borrowers that had been kept as collateral, before blacklisting the defaulters.
The new directive states that if the recovery from the collateral is not enough, the guarantor should be given 90 days to pay the remaining amount of loan before being blacklisted. Earlier, there was a provision to give a written notice of 35 days to the guarantor before including them in the blacklist.
According to the new arrangement, now the banks will be allowed to start the recovery process of loan from the guarantor only if the loan is not recovered after the auction of the collateral of the debtor. Until now, banks used to blacklist the borrower along with the guarantor if they failed to repay the loans on time.
Similarly, the central bank has made arrangements under which if one firm or company affiliated to a joint venture (JV) is blacklisted, other firms and companies associated with the same JV should not be blacklisted. NRB has become flexible after the rise in the number of people blacklisted by the Credit Information Center.
Similarly, Nepal Rastra Bank has also turned lenient in case of blacklisted people not being able to open bank accounts. According to the new provision, blacklisted persons can open an account for the purpose of receiving social security allowance and pension amount. Similarly, the central bank has also made provision for blacklisted persons to withdraw their wages, social security allowances, pensions etc from their accounts as per the law.
At present, there is a provision of blacklisting an individual or firm in the Credit Information Center if the principal or interest payment date exceeds 1 year after taking a loan of Rs 1 million or more from a bank or financial institution.
Similarly, there is also a provision to blacklist them if it is proven that the loan has been misused, if it is proven that the goods/assets kept in security have been misused, if the debtor disappears, if there is not enough money in the account while issuing cheques. So far, about 70,000 people and companies are on the blacklist of the Credit Information Center.
Blacklisted persons are not allowed to open accounts and take loans from banks and financial institutions. The center also has the right to recommend the government to freeze the passports of such persons. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the slump in economic activities following the Russia-Ukraine war, businessmen have been demanding concessions from the government saying that their ability to pay debts has been weakened.