Mumbai: SBI Tuesday said its gross non performing assets ratio has come down to 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter ended March, down from 5.3 percent in the preceding three-month period, hinting that the nation's largest bank has been able to improve asset quality.
"Our gross non-performing assets ratio has come down to 4.5 percent," Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told reporters here, adding the numbers are provisional as the bank's fourth quarter earnings are yet to be audited.
On absolute basis, the gross non-performing assets have come down to Rs 49,000 crore from the Rs 52,000 crore earlier in Q3 (October-December), he said, attributing the improvement to both cash recoveries and upgradation of accounts.
The bank saw around Rs 1,500 crore of loans getting restructured during the March quarter, he said.
When asked about the Finance Ministry directive to get the net NPAs down to 1 percent this fiscal, Chaudhuri said the bank would strive to adhere to it.
During the third quarter, the bank witnessed a rise in bad assets as gross NPA level touched a whopping 5.30 percent compared to 4.61 percent reported in the same period last fiscal with fresh slippages of over Rs 8,100 crore reported during the quarter.
In the just-concluded FY13, the bank registered an advances growth of 21 percent as against the 16.5 percent in the previous fiscal and a 14.88 percent rise in deposits, Chaudhuri said.
The high growth in advances was made possible because of a late pick-up from the corporates for working capital requirements in February and March, he said, adding that on the deposits front, it was able to get down the percentage of the high cost bulk deposits to 1 percent from the 4.5 percent the year ago.
On the margins front, the bank has been able to maintain them in the 3.70-3.75 percent range, the chairman added.
The bank witnessed a 30 percent rise in home loans during the fiscal, while the same for auto loans was 25 percent, he said, adding SBI has now emerged as the largest player in the auto loans segment, apart from already being the largest mortgage player.
"We are averaging at about Rs 1,100 crore per day in auto loans, which is lower than our peak of Rs 1,500 crore per day significantly higher than the Rs 500 crore which we were having when we cut our rates," Chaudhuri said.
On the home loan front, Chaudhuri said the bank has no plans ro cut its aggressive rate offering of 9.95 percent.
The bank may cut its base rate or the minimum rate of lending only if the Reserve Bank opts for a cash reserve ratio cut in its annual monetary policy review scheduled for May 3, he said.
"A cut in the repo rate will not help us cut our base rate. Only a CRR reduction can help us to bring down lending rates," Chaudhuri, who had created a flutter six months back by demanding an abolition of CRR, said.
He declared that given the inflation data released yesterday (which showed a three-year best at 5.96 percent), the RBI should cut the CRR by 1 percent and declared that his bank will cut the base rate by 0.20 percent if the RBI does so.
The cash reserve ratio, or the percentage of deposits banks have to park with the RBI for solvency, currently stands at 4 percent, which is the lowest in decades.
On the excess liquidity being carried by bank, which is an indication of the firepower it has, he said SBI currently has Rs 35,000-40,000 crore in excess funds ready to be deployed.
Hemant Contractor, managing director and group executive for international banking business at SBI said the recent USD 1-billion bond issue at a very competitive coupon rate of 3.25 percent will help the bank improve its bottomline.
Chaudhuri said the bank was able to raise the money so cheap as investors' fear of a possible downgrade of the country's sovereign rating have dissipated.
The money raised will be primarily deployed to fund its overseas client requirements, Contractor said.
First Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 21:25