India's Punjab & Sind bank chief declares war against bad loans

·2-min read

By Nupur Anand

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The focus for India's Punjab & Sind Bank is to reduce its bad loans and improve recoveries to ensure that gross non-performing assets fall below 10% by the end of FY23, the state-owned lender's chief said on Tuesday.

"We have declared a war against non-performing assets and aim to also keep slippage low," Swarup Kumar Saha, managing director of Punjab & Sind Bank, who took charge in June told Reuters. "We are also carrying out aggressive recovery drives and expect to recover 25 billion rupees ($317.91 million) worth of loans in this financial year."

The bank will also be transferring bad loans worth over five billion rupees to national bad bank which will also help to trim toxic assets.

Gross non-performing assets for the bank for the June quarter was at 11.34%, higher compared to its peers.

At a system level too, bad loans have been coming down and was at a six-year low of 5.9% in March 2022 which the country's central bank expects to decline further.

Saha said the lender also intends to improve its credit growth by focusing on retail, agriculture and small- and medium-size business loans to bring the bank back to the growth curve after a subdued performance in the last few years.

"Overall we expect the credit growth to be over 15% for FY23. Earlier there was a conscious decision to reduce our corporate loan exposure which had led to a degrowth in the segment, but now we are also focusing on growing corporate loans," he added.

The bank's gross advances grew by 7%, while deposits inched up by only 3% in the quarter ended June.

To improve deposit growth the lender has launched new products at competitive rates and may hike rates in deposits further in the coming weeks.

The bank remains well capitalised and the management will take a call on capital raising after the September quarter, Saha added.

(Reporting by Nupur Anand; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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