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Tuesday, Jul 27, 2004

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Panic is over for depositors, says OBC chief

Our Bureau

Mr B.D. Narang

New Delhi , July 26

THE Reserve Bank of India's swift move to announce the merger of Global Trust Bank (GTB) with Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) has come as a wonder-balm for the worried and agitated depositors of GTB, the OBC Chairman and Managing Director, Mr B.D. Narang, has said.

"The feedback that I am getting is that the panic is totally gone. The long queues of depositors are no longer there," Mr Narang told Business Line. OBC has one of the strongest balance sheets among public sector banks with capital adequacy of 16 per cent and zero net non-performing assets (NPAs).

Mr Narang assured that the interests of all stakeholders in GTB, including depositors, borrowers and employees, would be fully taken care of in the wake of the merger. "We will take care of the interests of all stakeholders. No one will suffer on account of the merger," Mr Narang said.

However, he said that the only section that would face the music would be the chronic defaulters of GTB against whom OBC would be taking stiff action. "I don't think that GTB had made much use of the Securitisation Act (that gives lenders immense powers to take action against defaulters outside the legal process). We would like to initiate a dialogue with all defaulting borrowers as soon as possible and if the defaulters are still reluctant to pay up, then the Securitisation Act will be used," Mr Narang said.

He said that though OBC's capital adequacy would come down from the present level it would still be above the mandatory minimum of 9 per cent. "If need be, I would raise Tier-II debt for which I already have the necessary permission," the OBC Chief said. He said that the bank also expects to get tax relief on account of the merger.

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