A non-performing asset (NPAs) refers to a category of loans or advances or debts that are in default or in arrears. A loan is said to be in arrears when the principal or interest payments are not paid or skipped by the debtor whereas a loan is called to be in default when the lender considers the loan agreement to be broken due to the debtor being unable to meet his obligations most probably as a consequence of financial constraints.
According to a Right to Information reply, the Non-performing assets of Bank of Baroda rose up more than six-fold to ₹73,140 crores. They rose from ₹11,876 crores at March-end 2014 to ₹73,140 crores at December-end 2019 while The number of accounts responsible for the rise in NPAs rose from 2,08,035 as on March 31, 2014, to 6,17,306 as of December 2019. It is also reported that Bank of Baroda collected ₹107.7 crores through SMS alert fee during April 1, 2018, to February 29, 2020.
Indian Bank is also not behind in the struggle. The NPAs of Indian Bank surged four-times to ₹32,561.26 crores in six years. They rose from ₹8,068.05 crores as on March 31, 2014, to ₹32,561.26 crores as on March 31, 2020, whereas the NPA accounts rose to 5,64,816 as on March 31, 2020, from 2,48,921 as on March 31, 2014. Indian Bank also collected nearly ₹21 crores through SMS service fee from April 2018 to February 2020.
The state-run lenders earn a massive amount of money from SMS alert service fees, minimum balance charges, locker charges, debit-credit cards service charges, outward, inward and ledger follow charges.
All this data was reported as a reply to Right to Information (RTI) queries on a number of NPA accounts and the total amount filed by Kota-based activist Sujeet Swami. In an interview he said, “My motive to file RTI was to unearth NPA amounts of two national banks between 2014 to 2020.” He also reportedly sought the same kind of data from State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank. However, they are yet to respond to the request.