KIST Bank and Vibor Bikas Bank have sought letter of intent (LoI) from Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the banking sector regulator, to take the merger process between the two institutions to a logical end.
“Although both the financial institutions had applied for LoI several days ago, they submitted all necessary documents today (Monday) only,” a high-ranking NRB official told Republica. “The central bank will now formally initiate the process of extending LoI to both the institutions.”
Once the LoI is extended, both the financial institutions will conduct due diligence audits, which will give detailed view of the financial health of both the institutions. “Once this is complete, both the institutions will have to file an application to obtain final approval for merger from the regulator,” the official said.
KIST, a category ´A´ financial institution, and Vibor, a category ´B´ financial institution, had formally launched the merger process on March 21 by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
The MoU was signed by Kamal Prasad Gyawali, managing director of KIST Bank, and Dr Roop Jyoti, vice chairman of Vibor Bikas Bank.
Following this, a merger committee was formed, which is working on completing the consolidation process within next five months.
So far, both the institutions have obtained green signal to initiate merger process from all shareholders.
KIST currently has a paid-up capital of Rs 2 billion, while Vibor, which recently merged with Bhajuratna Finance and Savings Company, has a paid-up capital of Rs 916.17 million. Once the merger process is complete, the new entity, which will be known as KIST Bank, will be one of the largest banks in terms of capital.
Earlier, Gyawali, who is expected to retain the position of the chief executive in the merged unit, had said there would be no layoffs upon consolidation of two units. He had also said public and promoter shares would be distributed accordingly based on outcomes of due diligence audits.
Both the financial institutions were once heavily exposed to the real estate sector, which is dormant at the time being. As a result both the institutions have accumulated significant chunk of bad debts due to borrowers´ inability to pay back loans.
As of mid-January, KIST´s non-performing loan stood at 7.15 percent of the total credit portfolio, while Vibor´s stood at 33.38 percent of total loans.