Standard asset for a bank is an asset that is not classified as an NPA. Read What are Non-Performance Assets or NPAs? The asset exhibits no problem in the normal course other than the usual business risk.
Sub-standard asset is an asset class drawn within the broader and much-known non-performance asset category of banks on the basis of term for which the asset class has not performed and extent of dues realization from collateral security with banks. In general, NPAs are the assets that have ceased to generate income for the banks. Further, on the basis of some other criterion stipulated for different kind of accounts, assets of the bank are classified as NPAs.
More specifically, according to RBI circular, sub-standard asset is an asset that has continued to remain an NPA for a period less than or equal to 1 year. With well-specified credit weaknesses, the liquidation of the debt would be difficult and banks would necessarily have to sustain some losses if deficiencies with respect to interest and principal amount payment are not corrected.
Another instance where a loan account or an asset class of the bank is categorized as a sub-standard asset is when the terms and conditions pertaining to the loan account are re-negotiated or revised. And depending on the satisfactory performance basis the revised terms, the account has to be classified within the sub-standard asset category for a minimum of 12 months. Thus, mere revision of terms of theaccount with no proper compliance does not result in the up-gradation of the asset category.
RBI keeps changing standard and sub standard asset classification
The Reserve Bank of India also keeps changing the standard and sub standard classification from time to time. What was a standard asset today, can well become a sub standard asset tomorrow. Banks in India in the last few quarters have been increasing their provisions, to guard against turning standard assets into sub standard assets.
In fact, the asset quality in the banking sector has deteriorated to the worst levels, with banks like bank of Baroda reporting record losses, thanks to asset quality taking a turn for the worst.
The Reserve Bank of India has also asked banks to make extra provisions, thus resulting in fresh slippages and standard assets gradually turning into sub standard ones.
Reasons for causes of sub standard assets
There are a number of reasons why assets turn sub standard. One of the biggest reasons for the same is the gradual downturn in the economy. In India, the last few years saw huge NPA slippages resulting into standard assets turning into sub standard assets. This is largely because of the huge defaults in the steel and power sector in India.
Banks are hoping that there is a gardual recovery and non performing assets over a period of time, get back to normal.