Rise in bad loans in mid-corporate segment, a worry: Chairman

State Bank of India reported a 137 per cent jump in net profit in the April-June quarter despite continued challenge on the bad loans front.

In the reporting quarter, India’s biggest bank clocked a net profit of Rs 3,752 crore compared with Rs 1583 crore in the year ago period.

Tight leash on operating expenses (up by 7.5 per cent at Rs 6,441 crore) and write-back in investment depreciation (Rs 521 crore, due to favourable interest rate movement) boosted the bank’s profitability.

According to Pratip Chaudhuri, Chairman, SBI, “Our earnings have stabilised and this has become a new normal for SBI. This is in spite of the fact that provisioning has been a little higher than normally what we do. But we did not have to skimp on the provisioning.”

He pointed out that the challenge for the bank is on the bad loans front. During the reporting quarter, the gross and net non-performing loans increased by about Rs 7,500 crore and Rs 4500 crore, respectively. “In terms of NPA by sector, we have been able to contain the increase in NPAs in the large corporate book. But what has proved to be our nemesis is the increase in NPAs in the mid-corporates, particularly in the SME segment,” the SBI chief said.

Though the net interest margin (the ratio of net interest income to earning assets) was a tad lower at 3.57 per cent (3.62 per cent in the year-ago period), the bank has maintained its guidance of 3.75 per cent for FY13.

Due to stress in the mid-corporate and small and medium enterprise segments, SBI will focus on segments such as home and car loans and large corporate loans to boost credit growth.

(See also Page 6)

ramkumar.k

@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 11, 2012)
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