India’s Top Lender to Boost Retail Book, Sees Better Earnings
State Bank of India Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

India’s Top Lender to Boost Retail Book, Sees Better Earnings

State Bank of India will accelerate retail loans and expects most lenders to post stronger-than-anticipated earnings as the economy revives faster than expected, according to Chairman Dinesh Khara.

“The banks were expecting worse, so they strengthened risk management significantly,” Khara, who took charge as head of the country’s largest lender in October, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Monday. “That’s why we are expected to see much better results than at the beginning of the pandemic.”

India’s Top Lender to Boost Retail Book, Sees Better Earnings

SBI’s bad loan ratio fell to 5.28% at the end of September from 5.44% three months earlier, but the bank warned that it expects a further 200 billion rupees ($2.7 billion) of loans to sour over the next six months as the pandemic hurts borrowers. However, the state-run bank has provided for its potential bad loans in advance, which will prevent significant pressure from building, Khara said last month.

Yono Divestment

The bank isn’t in a hurry to divest its stake in its home-grown digital application Yono, which has 28.5 million registered users, Khara said. His predecessor had estimated that it could be worth $40 billion a few months ago.

“At some stage we will consider this aspect,” Khara said. “We had introduced Yono as a delivery platform within the bank. It was in sync with our ambition, with our digitalization.”

SBI has raised $900 million of deposits and extended $400 million of loans through the app, Khara said. Yono contributed 2 billion rupees to the bank’s profit as of July and is expected to add 10 billion rupees for the full financial year, according to the bank’s latest investor presentation.

The Reserve Bank of India has urged banks to spend more on technology as consumers shift to digital platforms amid the pandemic.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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