The country's largest lender State Bank of India already has such a group called Stressed Assets Management Group to handle high NPAs, which came lower during the December quarter.

ICICI Bank is looking at various options to get a grip over bad loans, which went up to 3.40 percent in the December quarter.

Sources said the special vertical was reportedly shut in 2005, after being operational for five years, and may be restarted soon. It could be headed by Senior General Manager K M Jayarao, who headed the wing in its first avatar as well, they added.

When contacted, an ICICI Bank spokesperson declined comment, saying it does not react to market speculation.

In the past, ICICI Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Chanda Kochchar had blamed the NPA problem on prolonged tepidness on the macro front, which is forcing recast assets to slip.

During the December quarter earnings, Kochhar had said this trend of restructured assets slipping into NPAs lags the progress on the macro front, and the bank expected it to continue for another two-three quarters more.

In the third quarter, the bank had said its gross non-performing assets ratio moved up to 3.40 percent, while fresh slippages rose to Rs 2,279 crore. Of this, almost a third, or Rs 776 crore, came from restructured loans.

The largest private lender restructured Rs 1,755 crore during the quarter, down from Rs 2,300 crore a year ago.

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