Friday, February 23, 2018

Hysteria over PNB fraud

The Rs 11,300 crore fraud has create something hysteria over conditions at PSBs. Make no mistake, the sum involved is large and we should be legitimately concerned. However, to use the fraud to make the point that all PSBs are rotten is quite a leap. It's hard to resist the feeling that the fraud is being used to create a case for eventual privatisation of some PSBs and for shrinking the market share of PSBs.

When it comes to frauds, ownership cannot be said to be the crucial factor- think of the colossal frauds that have felled or battered some of the best known banks in the world. And fraud is just one form of violation of regulations and laws. International banks  have been involved in numerous other violations in recent years- LIBOR rigging, exchange rate manipulation, mis-selling of retail products, etc. Public memory may be short-lived but those with long enough memories will recall that some of the principal players in the securities scam of 1992 in India were foreign banks.

More in my article in The Wire, Public sector banks don't have a monopoly over fraud.

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