State Bank of India
PSU banks at risk of rating downgrades on rising bad loan provisions: S&P. Picture: A customer walks out of a State Bank of India (SBI) branch in Mumbai March 31, 2015Reuters

India's top lenders State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI Bank have been named as the domestic systemically important banks (D-SIBs) or "too big to fail" by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This means the banks are required to keep additional capital reserves.

The capital requirement for SBI and ICICI Bank will rise by 0.6% and 0.2% respectively for being identified as SIBs. The new capital norm for the two banks will be applicable from 1 April, 2016.

Following the failure of many banks during the global financial crisis of 2008, the RBI had introduced the concept of recognising the SIBs to make them more competent to weather risks. The central bank releases the list of D-SIBs in August every year.

The central bank said that naming of SBI and ICICI Bank as SIBs was based on their "size, interconnect, lack of readily available substitutes and complexity."

Currently, the country's largest lender SBI has total assets worth just over Rs 20 lakh crore while the second largest bank ICICI Bank has nearly Rs 6.5 lakh crore of total assets.

The SBI will need additional Rs 11,400 crore to meet the new capital norm and the ICICI Bank requires Rs 1,440 crore, according to an India Ratings report.

Experts believe that meeting higher capital requirements will not be a big problem for the two banks. The banks in the country generally keep more than 2 to 3% of capital above the stipulated level.

"For ICICI Bank, the additional capital needed will not be tough, as their internal accruals will be enough to meet this capital requirement. On the other hand, SBI might need to go to the market to meet this additional capital need but that will not be a challenge for them," Kunaey Garg, analyst, India Ratings, told Business Standard.

"Bringing SBI under D-SIB category will not impact the bank's profit and loss margin in the near term," Pratip Chaudhuri, former SBI Chairman told CNBC-TV18.

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