Loans written off by public sector banks surged to Rs 55,356 crore during April-September and are likely to breach Rs 1 lakh crore this financial year, The Indian Express reported on Monday, citing data from credit rating agency ICRA. The year 2017-’18 alone could make up for almost a fourth of the total write-offs in the past decade.

The write-offs in the July-September quarter were at an all-time high of Rs 29,783 crore, Icra’s research showed.

Banks write off loans when they believe they will not be able to recover them. This way, they clean up their balance sheets and removes the bad loans from its list of recoverable assets to save on tax liability. Indian banks have struggled with mounting stressed assets in the past few quarters, with increasing instances of corporate default.

The write-offs in April-September were over 50% higher than the Rs 35,985 crore recorded the same quarter a year ago. The total worth of loans that have been written off since 2007-’08 is over Rs 3.6 lakh crore, including Rs 1.33 lakh crore since April 2016, according to data given to The Indian Express by the Reserve Bank of India and ICRA.