During the last one year, the Corporation Bank has made retail lending (vehicle, home and property loans) an area of focus and this has seen huge growth in the first nine months of the current fiscal. To receive an award for excellence in Banking and Finance from the Suryadutta Group of Industries, Ajai Kumar, CMD, Corporation Bank, was here in Pune and spoke to Business Line. Excerpts from the interview:
How has your strategy to focus on SMEs and retail lending panned out? And how have gold loans grown?
Our retail lending has grown by 53% in the first three quarters. I think this is the best in the banking industry. Our SME loans have seen 35% growth, and special mention must be made of the low rate of default in retail, SME and priority sector lending.
On loan against gold, we have doubled our portfolio in the first nine months to Rs 3,600 crore. We expect to close the year at around Rs 5,000 crore.
How do you expect to grow during this fiscal? Are you looking at inorganic growth?
Our original estimate was 18% growth, but the environment is very challenging and I think we will close the current year with 16% growth. We are very strong in the South and growing rapidly in the North and West. We are adding 250 branches by March, of which 153 branches have already been opened.
On inorganic growth, we will certainly look at it going forward, but there is nothing as of now.
How has the recent cut in CRR and repo rate impacted your Bank?
We were expecting 50 bps cut. Extreme measures are required to revive the economy. With the present cut, Rs 380 crore will be released (for us), but Rs 760 crore would have made a difference.
You have received fund infusion from Government. Any plans to raise more funds?
We got Rs 204 crore from the government, but we require Rs 1,000 crore, so we will raise Rs 750 crore through equity to QIPs. We already have Board approval and will go for private placement as early as possible.