After taking a hit on account of loans to IL&Fs, Bandhan Bank will stay away from big corporate loans, and will remain focused on micro-loans in the short term.
Speaking at the fifth annual general meeting of Bandhan Bank here on Friday, C S Ghosh, managing director and chief executive of the bank, said the bank had identified four pillars of growth — dominate and defend the core microfinance business, explore and expand affordable housing segment, explore and expand into adjacent domains of retail and micro enterprise and garner low cost funds from core and related segments.
Responding to shareholders’ queries on the rise in non performing assets (NPAs) of the bank and referring to the bank’s exposure to IL&FS, Ghosh said that the increase in NPAs was on account of loan to one infrastructure companyand the bank had already made a provision of Rs 385 crore last year on the account.
The gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of Bandhan Bank at the end of Q4FY19 for the bank stood at 2.04 per cent, against 1.25 per cent in the same quarter a year ago.
Later, on the sidelines of the AGM, Ghosh said the bank would like to grow cautiously in the near term and stay away from big corporate loans.
“Drastic growth will not be sustainable. We would like to grow carefully,” said Ghosh.
At present, about 86 per cent of Bandhan Bank’s book is on account of microfinance.
In January, Bandhan Bank announced the merger of Gruh Finance with itself, which reduced the promoters’ stake to about 61 per cent, from the earlier 82.3 per cent.
According to RBI guidelines, promoters' stake in new private banks should not exceed 40 per cent.
In September 2018, the central bank had directed Bandhan Bank not to raise Ghosh’s salary and had also withdrawn the bank’s right to open new branches on its own. This was a penalty for not reducing the stake even after three years of operations. The deadline ended on August 23, 2018.
The bank will open its 1000th branch in the next quarter, said Ghosh.
Bandhan Bank reported a 67.7 per cent jump in its Q4FY19 net profit at Rs 651 crore, against Rs 388 crore in the same period last year.