Allahabad Bank Hopes To Return In Black In Q1
A pilgrim stands at the entrance to a temporary Allahabad Bank Ltd. automated teller machine (ATM) facility during the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Allahabad Bank Hopes To Return In Black In Q1

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Allahabad Bank, which posted a loss of Rs 8,334 crore last fiscal, hopes to return in the black going forward on the back of tight recovery mechanism and arrest of fresh slippages, according to its annual report 2018-19.

The Kolkata-based lender registered a loss of Rs 4,674 crore in 2017-18 and a loss of Rs 279 crore during 2016-17.

"Dedicated verticals are in place to ensure recovery of around Rs 2,000 crore per quarter. We expect the bank to break even during Q1 FY20 and thereafter to post net profits consistently.

"The net interest margin is expected to be around 2.65 percent and visible improvement in cost to income ratio," Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer SS Mallikarjuna Rao said in his address to shareholders.

In January last year, the lender came under the Reserve Bank of India’s watch-list under the Prompt Corrective Action framework due to losses on its books.

However, with capital infusion of Rs 11,740 crore in three tranches during 2018-19, the RBI lifted the restrictions imposed on the lender from February 2019.

Also read: How Fund Raising, Capital Infusion Will Boost Allahabad Bank’s Capital Ratios

The bank is also pursuing reforms agenda --Enhanced Access and Service Excellence -- prescribed by the finance ministry for turnaround of the bank, the report said.

"FY'19 was a challenging year for the Indian banking industry due to continued stress faced in asset quality on account of various macroeconomic and other factors.

"The bank is looking at a modest business growth of 9 percent during 2019-20 through focus on consolidating current account savings account base and increasing dependency under retail sector," it said.

The lender expects slippages to moderate and be contained at around 1 percent per quarter.

The concept of Stressed Asset Management Vertical has been introduced for effective and timely monitoring of NPA accounts and follow up of due process in such accounts, the bank said.

About fund raising plans, the bank said it will be augmenting growth capital during 2019-20 and has obtained board approval for raising up to Rs 4,000 crore through various modes during the year.

On asset front, the bank's gross NPA ratio stood at 17.55 percent at the end of March 2019, while net NPA was at 5.22 percent. In 2017-18, the respective figures were 15.96 percent and 8.04 percent.

"To improve asset quality, the bank initiated consistent recovery drive and recovered Rs 4,288.83 crore, out of which cash recovery was Rs 2,826.71 crore with a growth of 36.43 percent due to concerted efforts, daily monitoring and account specific resolution plan," Rao said.

During the fiscal, total reduction in NPA accounts stood at Rs 8,584.33 crore. Allahabad Bank also said it is about to wind up its sole international branch soon. The bank has its overseas branch in Hong Kong.

Also read: Allahabad Bank Cuts Lending Rate By 5 Basis Points

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