It Has Been a Torrid Week for Indian Banks

Yes Bank has become an example of all that ails the country’s banking system.

Cross-posted from The Economist.

Business days now begin in India with a scan of the headlines and then a click to check on the shares of Yes Bank, the country’s fourth-largest private bank. They peaked at 394 rupees ($5.64) in August 2018, and have staggered downwards ever since. On October 1st they hit 32 rupees after a 23% drop on the day, before rising by 23% on October 3rd as The Economist went to press.

Yes is not alone in its troubles. The shares of Indiabulls Housing Finance, the second-largest home lender—and, not coincidentally, a big borrower from Yes—have also plummeted. Late last month the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank, suddenly capped withdrawals from a small lender, Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank. That brought into the open what a police investigation now alleges was a vast lending fraud. Rumours of similar issues at other financial institutions prompted the RBI to tweet on October 1st reassuring “the general public that the Indian banking system is safe and stable and there is no need to panic”

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