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What are Non Performing Assets (NPA)?

What are Non Performing Assets (NPA)?
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NPA stands for Nonperforming assets. It can be a critical issue affecting the financial sector worldwide. As loans and advances turn sour, banks and financial institutions may face the challenge of managing these nonperforming assets. 

Understanding NPA in Indian banks can be important for investors, borrowers, and financial institutions to navigate the challenges posed by these assets and work towards a healthier and more resilient banking system. In this blog, we will dive deep into the complexities of Non Performing Assets and understand what is NPA, NPA calculation formula. We will also explore the causes, impact, and measures employed to address them.

What are Non Performing Assets?

Non performing asset meaning are loans or advances made by banks and financial institutions that have stopped generating income for the lender. 

In simple terms, NPA meaning in banking are those assets that are considered nonperforming when the borrower fails to make timely payments of principal and interest for a specified period, usually 90 days or more. NPAs indicate a higher risk of default and financial instability. 

They can include various types of loans such as personal loans, business loans, mortgages, and credit card debt. Banks strive to minimize NPAs as they impact profitability and require provisioning for potential losses.

Some of the Non Performing Assets of bank examples are: 

  • Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) in banking
  • Defaulted mortgages
  • Unpaid credit card debt
  • Overdue business loans
  • Bad debts in the corporate sector
  • Non-performing assets in agriculture

How Do NPAs Work?

Non performing assets are recorded on the balance sheet of banks and financial institutions. When borrowers consistently fail to make loan payments, the lenders take steps to recover the outstanding debt. If the borrower had pledged assets as collateral, the lender may seize and sell those assets to recover the amount owed. In cases where no collateral was pledged, the lender may classify the loan as a bad debt and sell it to a collection agency at a discounted price.

The classification of a loan as an Non Performing Asset is typically based on the duration of non-payment, which is commonly set at 90 days. However, this timeframe may vary depending on the terms of the loan. It’s important to note that an NPA can be identified at any point during the loan’s term or even at its maturity.

Different Types of Non Performing Assets (NPA) in Various Sectors

Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) can be found in various sectors of the economy. Here are some examples of NPAs:

a) Sub-Standard Assets

An asset is categorized as falling below standard if it maintains its non-performing asset (NPA) status for a period less than or equal to 12 months.

b) Doubtful Assets

An asset is labeled as in question if it retains its non-performing asset (NPA) status for more than 12 months.

c) Loss Assets

An asset is deemed a loss asset when it becomes “uncollectible” or possesses such minimal value that its viability as a bankable asset is not recommended. However, some recovery value may still exist, as the asset has not been entirely written off.

How to Calculate Gross Non Performing Assets Ratio (GNPA) and Net Non Performing Assets (NNPA)?

Gross NPA vs Net NPA ratios are two important metrics used to measure the financial health of a bank. Let’s understand how you can calculate them.

What is Gross NPA Ratio?

The gross NPA ratio or GNPA ratio is calculated by dividing the total gross Non Performing Assets by the total assets. The total gross NPAs are the total amount of loans that have been classified as non-performing for more than 90 days. The total assets are the total value of all of the bank’s assets, including loans, cash, and investments. The gross npa ratio formula can be expressed as: 

Gross Non Performing Asset Ratio = Total Gross NPAs / Total Assets

Thus, a high gross NPA ratio indicates that a bank has a large number of loans that are not being repaid. This can be a sign of financial problems for the bank.

What is Net NPA?

The net NPA is calculated by subtracting the value of provisions from the total gross NPAs. Provisions are amounts that banks set aside to cover losses on NPAs. The net NPA ratio formula can be expressed as:

Net Non Performing Asset = Total Gross NPAs – Provisions

The net NPA is a measure of the actual losses that a bank has incurred on its NPAs. A high net NPA indicates that a bank has incurred large losses on its NPAs. This can be a sign of financial problems for the bank.

Examples of NPA & Gross NPA

Suppose a bank has total outstanding loans of ₹10,00,00,000. Among these loans, ₹2,00,00,000 are classified as non-performing or bad loans.

Here, the bank’s Gross Non Performing Asset would be ₹2,00,00,000 since that is the total value of non-performing loans.

Now, let’s assume the bank has made provisions of ₹50,00,000 against the non-performing loans. In this case, the Net NPA would be calculated by subtracting the provisions from the Gross NPA. 

Thus, the Net Non Performing Asset would be ₹2,00,00,000 – ₹50,00,000 = ₹1,50,00,000.

NPA ratio formula

Now, to get the NPA percentage, divide the non-performing assets by total loans to get the NPA ratio in decimal form. Then multiply it by 100. 

NPA = ₹50,00,000 /₹2,00,00,000 x 100= 25%

What Happens to Non Performing Assets?

For non-performing assets, there are two possible scenarios:

a) If assets are pledged as part of the loan, and non-payment persists, the lender may resort to legal action, compelling the borrower to liquidate the pledged assets.

b) When no assets are available, prolonged non-payment may lead the lender to classify the loan as bad debt. Additionally, the lender might transfer the NPA account to a collection agency at a discounted rate.

What are the Causes of NPA? 

Some of the causes of Non Performing Asset are as follows:

  • Economic Downturns: When the economy is in a downturn, businesses may experience financial difficulties and may be unable to repay their loans.
  • Borrower Fraud: In some cases, borrowers may deliberately default on their loans in order to avoid repaying them.
  • Poor Lending Practices: Banks may make loans to borrowers who are not creditworthy. This can lead to NPAs if the borrowers are unable to repay their loans.
  • Lack of Monitoring: Banks may not adequately monitor borrowers’ repayment records, which can lead to NPAs.
  • Changes in the Economic Environment: Changes in the economic environment, such as a rise in interest rates or a decline in commodity prices, can make it more difficult for borrowers to repay their loans.

Impact of NPA on Banks, Borrowers, and the Economy

Challenges faced by Banks due to NPAs

Banks have their fair share of challenges when it comes to dealing with non-performing assets (NPA). Some of these challenges are:

  • Financial Losses: NPAs hit banks where it hurts the most – their wallets. When borrowers fail to repay their loans, banks face financial losses as they are unable to recover the principal amount and interest. 
  • Provisioning Pressures: Banks set aside provisions for NPAs as per regulatory guidelines. Higher NPAs can mean larger provisions, which may put a strain on the bank’s financials. It’s like setting aside money for rainy days that may never seem to end.
  • Liquidity Struggles: NPAs tie up a significant chunk of a bank’s funds. This can make it difficult for them to lend money and meet the liquidity needs of their customers. This liquidity strain can hamper the bank’s ability to generate revenue and grow its business.
  • Credit Quality Concerns: NPAs signal deteriorating asset quality, which can raise red flags for lenders. Credit rating downgrades may follow, increasing borrowing costs for the bank and shaking investor confidence. It’s like having a black mark on your credit history that may be hard to shake off.
  • Reputation at Stake: High NPAs can tarnish a bank’s reputation and shake customer trust. If people start losing faith in a bank’s ability to recover loans, they may withdraw their deposits. And take their business elsewhere. It’s like a domino effect that can further weaken the bank’s financial standing.

Impact of Non Performing Asset (NPA) on Borrowers

Non-performing assets don’t just affect banks; they have a significant impact on borrowers as well. Let’s explore how:

  • Creditworthiness: When a borrower’s loan turns into a Non Performing Asset, it adversely affects their creditworthiness and credit score. This makes it challenging for them to secure loans or credit in the future. Lenders become cautious and may perceive them as high-risk borrowers, resulting in limited access to financial resources.
  • Legal Consequences: If a borrower fails to repay their loan, the bank may initiate legal proceedings to recover the outstanding amount. This can lead to litigation, which not only adds to the borrower’s financial burden but also damages their reputation and credibility.
  • Asset Seizure: In certain cases, banks have the right to seize and sell collateral provided by the borrower to recover the outstanding loan amount. This can result in the loss of valuable assets, causing significant financial setbacks for the borrower.
  • Limited Financial Options: Borrowers with NPAs find themselves in a tough spot when it comes to obtaining additional financing. They may face difficulties in availing of new loans or credit facilities, which can hamper their ability to meet personal or business financial needs.
  • Negative Credit History: The NPA status of a loan is recorded in the borrower’s credit history, which can have long-term consequences. Other lenders, including banks and financial institutions, can access this information when assessing creditworthiness. The presence of NPAs in the credit history can lead to higher interest rates, stricter borrowing terms, and limited options.

Impact of Non Performing Assets (NPA) on the Economy

The impact of Non-Performing Assets on the economy is significant and can have far-reaching consequences. Let’s explore how:

  • Financial Stability: High levels of Non Performing Assets weaken the financial stability of banks, reducing their ability to lend and support economic growth.
  • Credit Crunch: Non Performing Assets restrict the availability of credit, making it difficult for businesses and individuals to access loans for expansion, investment, or personal needs.
  • Capital Erosion: NPAs erode the capital base of banks. As it requires them to set aside provisions and allocate resources for loan losses. This can lead to capital shortages and necessitate capital replenishment through equity dilution or government assistance.
  • Economic Productivity: Non Performing Assets disrupt the functioning of businesses. As they struggle to repay loans, leading to closures, job losses, and reduced productivity. This, in turn, affects overall economic output and growth.
  • Confidence and Investor Sentiment: High levels of NPAs erode investor confidence in the banking sector and the overall economy. This can result in reduced investments, both domestic and foreign, impacting economic development.
  • Fiscal Implications: NPAs create a burden on government finances as they may require financial assistance or bailouts to stabilize banks. This puts additional pressure on the fiscal budget and limits the government’s ability to allocate funds for other developmental purposes.

Measures to Address and Manage Non Performing Assets (NPA)

Role of Regulatory Authorities in NPA Management

Regulatory authorities play an important role in managing non-performing assets (NPA). They can do this by:

  • Setting standards for loan classification and provisioning: Regulatory authorities can set standards for how banks and other financial institutions classify loans and how much they should provision for NPAs. This will help to ensure that banks are ready for the possibility of loan defaults.
  • Monitoring NPA levels: Regulatory authorities can monitor the levels of NPA in banks and take steps to address problems that may arise. For example, they may require banks to take steps to reduce their Non Performing Assets or to increase their provisioning for NPAs.
  • Providing guidance and support: Regulatory authorities can provide guidance and support to banks and other financial institutions on how to manage NPAs. This may include providing information on best practices, developing training programs, and providing technical assistance.

Strategies Employed by Banks for NPA Resolution

Banks employ a variety of strategies to resolve Non-Performing Assets (NPA). These strategies can be classified into two broad categories:

Preventive measures aim to reduce the likelihood of loans becoming Non Performing Assets in the first place. These measures include:

  • Carefully assessing the creditworthiness of borrowers before lending money
  • Monitoring borrowers’ repayment records closely
  • Taking steps to recover loans that are in danger of becoming NPAs
  • Setting aside funds to cover potential losses on non-performing assets (NPAs). This process is known as NPA Provisioning

Resolution measures help to recover value from Non Performing Assets that have already been incurred. These measures include:

  • Restructuring the loan, which may involve extending the repayment period, reducing the interest rate, or providing other concessions to the borrower
  • Sale of the loan to a third party, such as an asset reconstruction company (ARC)
  • Write-off of the loan, which means that the bank accepts that it will not be able to recover the full amount of the loan. 

The choice of which strategy to use in a particular case will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the NPA, the borrower’s financial situation, and the bank’s own risk appetite.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Non Performing Assets (NPA)

Here are some preventive measures to avoid Non Performing Assets:

A. Importance of Credit Risk Assessment and Due Diligence

Credit risk assessment is the process of evaluating the likelihood that a borrower will default on a loan. However, it is advisable that banks and other lenders may conduct thorough credit risk assessments and due diligence before making loans. This may help them to identify borrowers who are more likely to default on their loans and avoid making loans to these borrowers.

B. Effective Loan Monitoring and Recovery Mechanisms

After approving the loan, it is important for banks and other lenders to monitor the borrower’s repayment performance on a regular basis. This may help them to identify potential problems early on and take steps to prevent them from becoming Non Performing Assets. If a borrower is having difficulty repaying a loan, banks and other lenders should intervene early. This may involve providing the borrower with financial counselling or restructuring the loan terms.

C. Strengthening Risk Management Practices in the Banking Sector

It’s advisable for banks and other lenders to have a system in place for tracking and reporting on NPAs. This may help them to identify trends and to take steps to address any problems.

By taking these preventive measures, banks and other lenders can help to reduce the risk of NPAs.

To Wrap It Up…

Nonperforming assets continue to be a significant concern for the financial sector, with far-reaching implications for banks, borrowers, and the overall economy. 

The rising tide of Non Performing Assets (NPA) demands proactive measures to mitigate risks, improve asset quality, and strengthen the financial health of institutions. However, through effective credit risk assessment, robust loan monitoring mechanisms, and stringent regulatory oversight, the management and resolution of NPAs can be improved.


1. What is Asset and Nonperforming Assets for a Bank?

An asset for bank is any valuable resource it owns, contributing to its economic value. Nonperforming assets (NPAs) are assets that fail to generate income or repayments as expected, posing financial risks.

2. What are the examples of Non Performing Assets?

Examples of Non Performing Assets include:
a) Defaulted loans where the borrower has failed to make timely repayments.
b) Overdue credit card payments or outstanding dues.
c) Non-payment of interest or principal on mortgages or housing loans.
d) Unpaid business loans or advances.

3. What are the new rules for NPA?

The rules for Non Performing Assets vary across jurisdictions and are governed by the regulatory authorities. It is essential to refer to the specific guidelines issued by the regulatory bodies in each country to understand the latest rules for NPA classification, provisioning, and resolution.

4. What are the Non Performing Assets of India?

Non Performing Assets in India encompass various sectors, including:
a) Non-performing loans in the banking sector, both public and private banks.
b) NPAs in sectors such as infrastructure, power, telecommunications, real estate, and textiles.
c) Non-performing advances in cooperative banks and regional rural banks.
d) Non-performing assets in non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).
e) NPAs in the agricultural sector, such as overdue crop loans or agri-business loans.

5. How do banks deal with NPA?

a) Restructuring: This involves renegotiating the terms of the loan, such as extending the repayment period or reducing the interest rate.
b) Securitization: This involves selling the NPA to another institution, such as an asset reconstruction company (ARC).
c) Legal action: This involves taking legal action against the borrower to recover the outstanding debt.
d) Provisioning: This involves setting aside funds to cover the potential loss from the NPA.

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