The Nomination and Remuneration Committee (NRC) constituted by South Indian Bank to look for the new MD and CEO has received several applications and has evaluated and shortlisted a few candidates, Chairman Salim Gangadharan said.

The search committee is evaluating the applications and has had a few rounds of interactions with the shortlisted candidates. Once finalised, the bank will then move to the second stage of reaching out to regulator as per the requirement of seeking regulatory approval four months prior to the appointment, he said in the Q4 earnings call.

Current MD and CEO Murali Ramakrishnan, whose term will end in September, said the search committee has partnered with agency Hunt Partner, and are collectively screening and processing the candidates and applications.

Q4 profit rises 23%

The private sector lender posted a net profit of ₹334 crore for Q4, up 23 per cent YoY and much higher than ₹103 crore in the previous quarter. For FY23, the profit after tax was ₹775 crore, the highest ever for the bank.

Ramakrishnan said that profitability was led by strong NII and other income growth, and excellent recoveries and lower slippages which led to lower provisioning requirements.

Net interest income (NII) for the quarter was up 35 per cent YoY and 4 per cent QoQ at ₹857 crore. NIM (net interest margin) was at 3.7 per cent for the quarter. Ramakrishnan said the bank aims to sustain these margins, pegging NIM for FY24 at 3.0-3.5 per cent.

Also read: Ujjivan SFB’s Q4 PAT up over two-fold on strong NII growth, recoveries

Advances of the bank rose 17 per cent YoY to ₹41,568 crore as of March 31, led by 39 per cent growth in corporate loans, 116 per cent in personal loans and 28 per cent in gold loans. The bank saw strong growth across sectors barring housing where there was some amount of slowdown, Ramakrishnan said, adding that the bank will look to grow the housing book in FY24 as part of the focus on retail and MSME segments.

On the corporate side too, the bank is seeing demand from good quality corporates for working capital and other facilities, he added.

While tightness in deposit accretion is expected to continue, the bank has again started accepting bulk deposits because rates are now similar to those for retail, he said. Retail deposits for the bank grew 5 per cent YoY and CASA deposits by 2 per cent.

The muted growth in liabilities is a deliberate strategy to balance liquidity and NIMs, because profitability is also equally important, Ramakrishnan said, adding that however the bank can’t continue to offer “fairly low rates” for long and has thus started increasing rates in some segment of deposits. CD (credit-deposit) ratio for FY24 is expected to remain at around 73-77 per cent.