State Bank of India (SBI) has turned cautious on lending to the infrastructure, steel, textile and pharmaceutical sectors, according to a senior official of the bank. India’s largest lender, which has seen a steep rise in bad assets during the financial year, is now in a phase of consolidation, the official told FE.
“These are the segments where most of the defaults are coming from, so we will be very vigilant while lending. The weakness in asset quality is clearly linked to the macroeconomic scenario and ,” the official said.
The bank is expected to display slower growth in the large and mid-corporate segment for the January-March quarter, as the bank focuses its lending growth in the retail loan book. As on December 31, SBI’s total advances stood at R11,83,723 crore, up 17.3% from a year ago.
The retail loan portfolio was up 15.5% from a year ago at R2,30,827 crore, while the mid corporate book was up 25.5% and stood at R2,19,295 crore.
“In both large corporate and mid-corporate group we had a flat growth quarter-on-quarter so we are not looking at any aggressive growth in these areas. However, retail has grown about R6,700 crore sequentially, so we will continue to grow there as long as the portfolio shows good return and not too much of stress,” Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairman, had told reporters while announcing SBI’s December quarter results.
Non-food credit grew to R57,414,226 crore in the fortnight ended February 7, up 15.04% from a year from the same period last year. Bankers attributed the growth in credit coming in mainly from lending to the agriculture sector due to the good harvest season. For FY14, RBI has projected a credit growth of 15% and deposit growth of 14%.
SBI reported slippages worth R33,569 crore during the first nine months this year, compared to R31,993 crore in the 12 months of FY13. Upgradation and cash recoveries stood at R9,481 crore for the April-December period this year, while the bank wrote off R7,478 crore worth of loans.