State Bank of India (SBI) Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya on Tuesday said she does not have a magic wand to deal with bad loans, which soared to Rs. 61,605.35 crore at the end of March.
Pinning hopes on the economy reviving, she said, “We are seeing some lessening of stress but…There is no magic wand, we have to work through our way. As the GDP goes up, demand goes up, the capital market will begin to respond, people are able to raise equity, we will see things becoming better.”
SBI’s gross non-performing assets rose to Rs. 61,605.35 crore, or 4.95 per cent of total advances, at the end of March from Rs. 51,189.39 crore, or 4.75 per cent, in 2012-13.
The bank’s net profit tanked to Rs. 10,891.17 crore in 2013-14 from Rs. 14,104.98 in the previous financial year.
“We are very much in control. We understand the challenges. We are working on various solutions,” she said.
On the interest rate, Bhattacharya said it is stable at this point.
Asked about fund-raising plans, she said, “I don’t need it. I will have to check credit growth and then decide, (in) another four months. We would need it should there be lot of demand for credit.”
Once credit demand picks up, she said, “We have lot of options, including rights, QIP and FPO, so everything is on the table. At this point of time, we have not finalised anything.”
SBI raised Rs. 8,032 crore in January by selling 5.13 crore shares through a qualified institutional placement (QIP).
On the fiscal deficit, she said, “Please don’t have such a short-span view. You are only looking at April and May. April and May are when the expenditure occurs, it’s not when revenue accrues. Taking a very short-span view…Is not very good.”
The fiscal deficit in the first two months of 2014-15 was Rs. 2.4 lakh crore, or 45.6 per cent of the budget estimate for the financial year.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated SBI’s six digital branches across the country.
“With the innovative technology and user-friendly features at the digital stores, SBI has led the way in digital innovation in the Indian banking industry,” Jaitley said.
He expressed hope that other banks would follow suit by opening such branches.