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HCBL Bank denies Sahara link

The bank decided to clear air on the issue since it was widely believed that it was promoted by Sahara

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

HCBL Cooperative Bank has denied that Sahara India Group was its promoter or the conglomerate had management control over it.

The Lucknow-based Bank maintained it was an "autonomous banking institution" functioning under dual regulation of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Uttar Pradesh Cooperative department.

"Sahara Group is only our corporate client like any other customer," HCBL Cooperative Bank CEO Pawan Kapoor said here.

The bank decided to clear air on the issue since it was widely believed that it was promoted by Sahara.

The diversified and Lucknow-headquartered Sahara India Group is currently locked in a legal battle with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) over refund of Rs 20,000 crore to investors of two group companies. The matter is pending before Supreme Court.

Kapoor underlined the Bank was servicing some salary and current accounts of Sahara Group just like any other corporate client.

HCBL has nine branches in Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Unnao, Barabanki and Sitapur. It has applied to RBI for opening five more branches in Varanasi, Hardoi, Kanpur, Lakhimpur and Noida.

"We want to spread to other states and are awaiting the RBI nod for the possible merger of an urban cooperative bank (UCB) in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh," he informed.

The Bank is doing due-diligence for similar prospective mergers in Pune (Maharashtra) and Gujarat.

During 2013-14, the Bank's deposits and advances stood at Rs 192 crore and Rs 64 crore respectively. "We are aiming to improve our Credit Deposit Ratio to 45-48%," he said.

The Bank has now launched a scheme of offering loans at low interest rate of 8 percent to chikan and handicraft artisans, while facilitating for marketing of their products in national and international markets. Last year, HCBL had started opening savings bank (SB) accounts of beggars under financial inclusion and motivating them towards self-employment.

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First Published: Mon, May 19 2014. 17:10 IST