In bad times, promoters leave creditors with hardly any value to extract from failed businesses. The biggest victim is a state-dominated banking system that recoups very little from insolvent companies. To give government-backed lenders visibility on whether their funds are being siphoned off, the central bank recently took a drastic step. Any company with 500 million rupees ($6.7 million) or more in debt will have to open a dedicated account at a bank exposed to at least 10% of its borrowings to pay creditors. Only the lender operating this escrow account can handle the firm’s day-to-day banking business. Since public-sector banks do the bulk of corporate lending, they stand to gain current accounts.
Existing banking relationships will need to be consolidated within three months. This is bound to upset the likes of Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc. These global-local, or “glocal,” banks have been beefing up