Nonperforming Asset (NPA) Definition & Types


Key Takeaway:

  • A Nonperforming Asset (NPA) is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payments are overdue by more than 90 days.
  • The three types of NPA are substandard assets, doubtful assets, and loss assets, with loss assets being the most severe form.
  • The impact of NPA on banks can be significant, leading to reduced profits, increased provisioning, and a decrease in the bank's overall financial health.

Struggling to understand Nonperforming Asset (NPA) and its types? You re not alone. Get the knowledge you need to identify different types of NPA, and prevent them from affecting your finances.

Definition of NPA

Understanding Nonperforming Assets (NPAs)

Nonperforming Assets (NPAs) refer to loans or advances that have not been repaid or are overdue for a period of 90 days or more. These assets are considered to be riskier than the performing assets, as they are more likely to default.

Due to the uncertainty of recovery from NPAs, banks and financial institutions are required to classify them into different categories, based on the severity of the default. These categories include sub-standard assets, doubtful assets, and loss assets. Each category reflects a different level of severity and probability of recovery.

The value of NPAs has been a significant concern for the banking industry, as it affects their profitability, liquidity, and stability. In the past, NPAs have been attributed to various factors such as economic slowdown, political interference, corporate governance issues, and regulatory lapses.

In one instance, the banking sector had faced a severe crisis due to a surge in NPAs, known as the Asset Quality Review (AQR) in 2015. It was initiated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to identify and classify the NPAs accurately, leading to strong measures by the government to address the issue.

NPAs continue to be a critical area of concern for banks and financial institutions worldwide, requiring effective risk management and recovery strategies to mitigate the impact.

Types of NPA

To comprehend NPA's types - Substandard Assets, Doubtful Assets, and Loss Assets - you must examine each category's individual characteristics. These three divisions have distinct features that bankers and investors need to know for making wise choices. Let's plunge into their features! Crucial for savvy decision-makers.

Substandard Assets

Assets that are categorized as below standard quality and have been non-performing for more than one year are known as Substandard Assets. These types of assets show a significant decline in the financial health of the borrower or debtor. The security or collateral against such assets also has reduced marginally, which increases risk factors for lenders.

Substandard Assets can be identified with their classification, where borrowers fail to make payments despite various reminders and notices from creditors. Non-payment of interest continues for a period of 30-90 days, depending on the nature of the loans, and then asset categorization changes to substandard. In case of account regularization, substandard assets can improve if at least three installments have been cleared.

Such cases signify inefficiency or mismanagement by lenders who have not taken adequate measures to keep track of their credit quality. This adds up to creating losses for both investors and lenders.

A leading bank that had excelled in the market was caught off guard when it faced an issue with substandard assets going up significantly due to an economic downturn. The situation arose because they did not factor in these potential risks before offering loans. It taught a valuable lesson about how important it is to take into account every possible risk factor and ensure proper loan documentation and follow-up procedures are in place to avoid losses due to substandard assets' growth.

Having a doubtful asset is like having a blind date - you're not sure if it'll be worth your time and money.

Doubtful Assets

Assets that have a high chance of becoming nonperforming due to uncertain economic conditions fall under this category. These assets are known as questionable assets and require special attention from financial institutions to recover them. Financial institutions should closely monitor these accounts and take appropriate action to reduce the risk of turning them into NPAs.

Queer assets have a higher risk of becoming NPA than substandard or loss assets. The source of payment for these types of assets is uncertain, and it may default in paying back the loan amount. These doubtful accounts often arise when borrowers face difficulties repaying loans due to problems such as low demand, lack of infrastructure or production capacity, changes in government policies, or force majeure events such as natural disasters.

Financial institutions can minimize the chances of doubtful assets turning into NPAs by initiating corrective actions promptly. They must ensure timely payment reminders, make necessary arrangements with borrowers such as restructuring or rescheduling loans based on their repayment capacity, and follow up with regular monitoring of repayments to avoid delays.

To keep doubtful assets at bay, financial institutions need to adopt a proactive approach by regularly reviewing their portfolio's health and identifying potential risks early on. This requires implementing effective risk management systems that help them assess creditworthiness accurately while also providing timely warnings about potential NPAs. By doing so, they can prevent losses on invested capital and maintain a healthy balance sheet while ensuring long-term profitability and growth.

Better hold on tight to your wallet, because these Loss Assets will make it disappear faster than a magician with a rabbit.

Loss Assets

Assets which have already been categorised as nonperforming and cannot be recovered are known as unrecoverable assets. Such assets come under the category of "loss assets".

Loss assets are a type of NPA that cannot be recovered by banks or lenders. These types of assets become loss assets when they stop generating income or cash flow and also cannot be sold to recover the loan's outstanding amount. Loss assets require higher provisioning by banks, and they must be written off from their books.

It is essential to note that loss assets differ from bad debts or doubtful debts. Bad debts signify loans which won't get fully recovered, whereas doubtful debts suggest loans having low chances of recovery but not impossible.

According to the latest article in Forbes on July 12th, 2021 - 'The Indian banking system has seen a significant rise in loss asset recognition since the COVID-19 pandemic hit'. Looks like some people are just really good at not paying back their loans, but hey, at least they're consistent!

Reasons for NPA

Non-performing assets or NPAs are a major concern for financial institutions. There are several reasons why NPAs occur, including borrower insolvency, loan frauds, macroeconomic slowdowns, and management inefficiencies. Inadequate credit appraisals, low-quality collaterals, and poor credit monitoring can also lead to NPAs. Such assets negatively impact the overall health of the bank and the economy at large. High NPAs affect the bank's profitability and liquidity, leading to instability in the financial system.

It is crucial to implement measures to manage and minimize the occurrences of NPAs. Banks can adopt risk-based pricing, incorporate better credit rating systems and credit appraisals, and improve the quality of collateral. Additionally, strengthened legal frameworks can improve loan recovery processes. Constant monitoring and effective management of borrowers' accounts are key to avoiding potential NPAs. Banks must also constantly assess and address macroeconomic conditions and management inefficiencies to prevent NPAs from accumulating.

In summary, identifying the reasons behind NPAs is crucial for preventing them from further affecting the banking system. Implementation of appropriate measures and monitoring of existing processes can prevent NPAs from arising, leading to a healthier financial system.

Impact of NPA on Banks

When Nonperforming Assets (NPAs) increase, it directly affects the profitability and liquidity of banks. The impact of NPAs on banks can lead to significant losses, reduction in lending capacity, and could even lead to bankruptcy. It is, therefore, vital for banks to manage their NPAs effectively and efficiently.

The increase in NPAs limits the amount of credit that banks can extend, ultimately leading to a decrease in lending activities, thus affecting the banks' profitability. Banks are also forced to set aside capital as provisions for NPAs, impacting their liquidity. This, in turn, impacts the banks' ability to meet their daily cash flow requirements and make new investments.

Furthermore, the classification of an asset as NPA affects the credit rating of the banks, reducing their ability to raise funds from the market. This translates into higher borrowing costs for the banks, which eventually affects their profitability. The increase in NPAs also leads to a decrease in the value of the banks' assets, causing a decline in the stock price.

To manage NPAs effectively, banks must adopt a proactive approach, including implementing robust credit risk management systems, conducting regular audits, and ensuring credit repayment compliance. Additionally, they must focus on improving their recovery mechanism, including monitoring overdue loans, timely follow-up on defaulters, and restructuring of non-performing loans.

Effective NPA management is essential for banks to maintain their financial health and sustain growth. It not only minimizes the impact of NPAs on the banks but also safeguards their interests, enabling them to provide better services to their customers.

Measures to Manage NPA

To tackle Nonperforming Assets (NPA) there are multiple options. Check out 'Nonperforming Asset (NPA): What It Is and Different Types'. It has subsections covering:

  1. "Restructuring and Rescheduling"
  2. "Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs)"
  3. "Securitization"
  4. "Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs)"

Restructuring and Rescheduling

When it comes to managing Non-performing Assets (NPAs), borrowers' inability to repay their loans can lead to banks either restructuring or rescheduling the outstanding debts.

Restructuring involves modifying the loan agreement's terms and conditions, including the interest rate, repayment period, installment amount, or principal amount. On the other hand, rescheduling implies that a borrower gets a temporary extension of the loan repayment period or additional funding during a robust financial crisis.

Restructuring and rescheduling are some measures taken by banks to prevent NPAs from turning into bad debts entirely. They help ensure that a borrower with short-term financial issues may benefit from temporary relief without leading to a non-payment crash in the bank.

Moreover, these two methods provide flexibility in repayment options and help prevent debtors from losing their property or business assets due to non-payment.

If you fail to restructure your NPA loans, you might end up being blacklisted by credit rating agencies and unable to obtain new financing for any investment opportunities in the future. It is always better to approach your lender at an early stage if you find it challenging to keep up with payments on your loan. Restructuring or rescheduling might offer breathing space while solutions are put in place for better repayment plans.

Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) are like the superheroes of the finance world, swooping in to save distressed assets and turning them into profitable ones.

Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs)

Asset Reconstruction Entities are organizations licensed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). These entities have a legal capacity to buy Nonperforming assets or NPAs from banks and use their expertise to recover value from them. In this process, they help banks in cleaning up their balance sheets and offering loans to viable businesses. The process involves several legal and financial aspects such as buying NPAs from banks, restructuring NPAs, or liquidating assets for disposal.

ARCs not only buy bad debts but also invest their own money and expertise into turning around the businesses tied to those faulty loans. In some cases, ARCs can even become majority shareholders in distressed companies and acquire management control for an interim period. While buying these assets, Asset Reconstruction Companies typically offer a lower cost per asset than realizable value in the market.

Once they acquire non-performing assets, ARCs analyze every aspect of the non-performing asset and try to recover value wherever possible through measures like debt recovery tribunals (DRTs) or Lok Adalats along with other legal procedures which get followed according to law.

Many banks prefer ARCs as it offers them substantial relief on cash flow and improves their balance sheet quality. Similarly, many analysts consider investment in ARCs attractive options since it provides better returns than traditional investment opportunities in financial markets.

ARCs seem to receive attention recently after RBI released multiple options for easing resolution of stressed assets recognition amid COVID-19 pandemic crisis deals ensuring maximum benefit is derived from these sources of finance through sanitization measures.

Securitization: When you turn your debt into a hot potato and hope someone else gets stuck with it.


The process of transforming illiquid assets into tradable securities is a common practice in the financial sector. This restructuring and pooling mechanism helps to minimize risk and raise capital, which is called Asset-Backed Securities (ABS).

Securitization entails placing receivables from various loans or credit transactions such as mortgages, car loans, student loans, or credit card advances into one bundle. Later on, these assets are sold to investors for cash at a discount rate. The investors become eligible for the interest income that is generated when borrowers repay their debts.

ABS issuance limitations have been set by regulators to ensure healthy credit creation by banks and other lending institutions. Securitization activities can, however, enhance liquidity in financial markets.

With increased transparency in ABS markets and reforms designed to minimize misalignment of incentives between sellers and buyers, it is a valuable securitization method to unlock more capital.

During the 1970s home mortgage industry slump due to high-interest rates led inventors back then to create the first modern residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS) which spurred the growth of today's ABS market. Debt recovery is no laughing matter, except maybe for the DRTs who get to judge who's naughty or NPA-ty.

Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs)

Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) are specialized courts in India that facilitate the recovery of unpaid loans and debts by financial institutions and banks. The DRTs have been instituted by the Indian Government to deal with cases of non-performing assets (NPAs).

These tribunals were established under the provisions of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (RDDBFI), 1993, as a response to mounting NPAs in the country. Apart from resolving cases related to defaulting borrowers, DRTs also help in the enforcement of security interests over collateral.

A unique feature of these tribunals is their ability to regulate proceedings without interference from other courts. This helps expedite the process and ensures timely resolution. In addition, DRTs allow appeals only to higher courts leaving no scope for further appeals beyond that.

If you're a bank or financial institution dealing with NPAs, it's imperative that you seek recourse through DRTs at the earliest. Failing to do so may lead to loss of your asset-value or being embroiled in lengthy court proceedings which can ultimately culminate in little or no recovery. Don't miss out on an opportunity for swift resolution- approach a Debt Recovery Tribunal today!

Five Facts About Nonperforming Asset (NPA): What It Is and Different Types:

  • ✅ Nonperforming Asset (NPA) is a loan or advance for which the borrower has stopped making payments for more than 90 days. (Source: The Economic Times)
  • ✅ NPAs negatively impact the profitability and solvency of banks and financial institutions. (Source: Investopedia)
  • ✅ There are several types of NPAs, including Gross NPA, Net NPA, and Provisioning NPA. (Source: BankBazaar)
  • ✅ Banks use various methods to recover NPAs, such as restructuring the loan, taking over the assets of the borrower, and selling the assets at an auction. (Source: Money Control)
  • ✅ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has implemented various measures to address the NPA problem, such as the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and the Asset Quality Review (AQR). (Source: Livemint)

FAQs about Nonperforming Asset (Npa): What It Is And Different Types

What is a Nonperforming Asset (NPA)?

A Nonperforming Asset (NPA) is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payments have not been paid by the borrower for a period of 90 days or more. This means that the loan has become delinquent and the lender is unable to generate any income from it.

What are the different types of Nonperforming Assets (NPA)?

There are two types of NPAs:

  • Substandard Assets: These are assets that have remained nonperforming for a period of less than or equal to 12 months.
  • Doubtful Assets: These are assets that have remained nonperforming for a period of more than 12 months.

What are the consequences of a Nonperforming Asset (NPA) on banks?

An NPA affects the banks in the following ways:

  • Reduction in the bank's profits as no interest income is generated from the defaulting loan.
  • Reduced creditworthiness of the bank as it affects the bank's ability to lend.
  • Accumulation of assets of low value and hence a decrease in the bank's net worth.

How can a Nonperforming Asset (NPA) be resolved?

A Nonperforming Asset (NPA) can be resolved through the following ways:

  • Recovery through securitization and sale of assets
  • Recovery through Debt Recovery Tribunal(DRT) or court
  • Debt restructuring or rescheduling
  • One-time settlement

What are the reasons for the growth of Nonperforming Assets (NPAs) in banks?

The following are the reasons for the growth of Nonperforming Assets (NPAs) in banks:

  • Inadequate credit appraisal system
  • Improper analysis of borrower's creditworthiness
  • Non-compliance with due diligence
  • Slowdown in the economy causing defaults
  • Inadequate follow-up and recovery of loans

What are the measures taken by the government to tackle Nonperforming Assets (NPAs)?

The government has taken the following measures to tackle Nonperforming Assets (NPAs):

  • A roadmap for timely resolution of NPAs
  • Enactment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
  • Stringent action against wilful defaulters
  • Asset Quality Review of banks by Reserve Bank of India
  • Capital infusion in public sector banks