No negative surprises in Dec earnings: Dena Bank chief

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 17:52

Mumbai: Dena Bank's newly-appointed head Ashwani Kumar Tuesday said investors should not look forward to any negative surprises in its forthcoming results due to the leadership change at the bank.

"It is not that we are interested in showing more NPAs or anything...They (investors) should not expect any shocks on account of the change in the leadership," Kumar said.

Kumar took charge as the Chairman and Managing Director of the city-based bank on January 1.

He further said there are no "hidden non-performing assets" or any other issues with the bank and stressed that there is "continuity in the leadership".

The bank is scheduled to declare its December quarter earnings on January 30.

In the past, there have been multiple cases of newer leaderships opting to prune the books of state-run banks, showing an increase in NPAs or making extra provisions, and thus shaving off bottomlines, on assuming charge.

The most notable case was when Pratip Chaudhuri took over the reigns at the country's largest lender State Bank from his predecessor Ompraksh Bhatt, and declared the bank's worst quarterly numbers at Rs 21 crore for the March 2011 quarter from the average of Rs 1,500 crore during Bhatt's tenure, allegedly by under-provisioning.

Kumar, who joined from the Mangalore-headquartered Corporation Bank, said Dena Bank was one of the biggest banks at the time of nationalisation in 1969 and he will focus on "regaining the past glory of the bank" during his tenure.

Making the city-headquartered lender, which has a good presence in Gujarat and Maharashtra, more technology savvy will be another area of attention, Kumar said.

He added that the bank will leverage on the comparative advantages of having a younger staff with an average age of 43.

During the past fiscal, the bank had witnessed healthy growth in small enterprises lending (15 per cent, year to date) and retail (12 per cent), he said, adding it will continue to focus on these two segments to drive growth.

In the next 15 days, it is scheduled to open 15 new branches in the SME clusters in Punjab and Haryana, which will also help the bank establish a national identity, Kumar said.

The bank is also on course to achieve its target of up to 19 per cent growth in advances and 21 per cent in deposits this fiscal, he said, and termed the performance so far as "satisfactory".

The bank's NPA books are under control, even though it has an exposure of Rs 235 crore to Air India, around Rs 73 crore to Suzlon and Rs 2,000 crore of exposure to state electricity boards which have been restructured, he said.


First Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 17:40

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