Last year I began my Statement with the following words: We are living in a dynamic and unpredictable world. There are complex set of variables that are constantly changing making it very difficult to visualize stability or predict the future with any level of accuracy. Little did I realize to what extent those words would be illustrated by a catastrophic event that we experience today.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in first quarter of current calendar year is a black swan event which was anticipated as a possibility for many years not taken seriously by many nations as a result of which public health systems were underinvested in to the extent that the most advanced nations in the world did not possess even the most rudimentary equipment to protect nurses and doctors who would be the front line of defence against such an eventuality.
The unpreparedness of the world for a possible but remote risk (even demonstrated in films) illustrates the challenges the world is facing at the present time. Risk Assessments and Mitigation are a normal process of every company's protocol. This catastrophe will force nations to rethink their approach towards health infrastructure. As a result our theme this year focusses attention on the imperative of sound leadership in a time of crisis
As our theme suggests there are three words that are critical in these times: Prediction Adaptability and Resilience. Leadership is about being mindful of these elements and preparing an institution for the challenges and opportunities for the future. As part of DCB Bank's strategy we have constantly used these three words for over a decade. Being mindful of the external environment and de-risking the balance sheet in the early days we decided to be a predominantly retail bank. As the years went by this was only intensified and today we have avoided considerable problems linked to wholesale funding and corporate banking.
Adaptability has been a major element in our ability to innovate products and technology and to use our capacity to be nimble and adaptive. In these times of crisis this ability that has been part of our training and culture has come to the fore as our staff even though largely homebound have been able to sustain our operations and respond to our customers proactively.
Resilience is the outcome of both being mindful of the emerging external environment as well as flexible in our response to a constant flux and uncertainty around us. It is also the consequence of making sound strategic decisions given a realistic assessment of the external environment; an ability to guide an institution through uncertainties that are constantly changing and emerging.
I am happy to report that this year we continued to make steady progress through the year. The last quarter was largely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and March 2020 was disrupted by the imposition of lock-down. The Bank experienced modest growth in a year that saw a gradual slowing down of the economy prior to Covid-19. Balance Sheet grew to ` 38505 crore with Deposits at ` 30370 crore and Advances at ` 25345 crore. Operating Profit grew by 16.5% to ` 753.06 crore; Profit after Tax however increased by 3.9% weighed down by Covid-19 Regulatory Package provision (` 63 crore) and other provisions. PAT for the year was ` 337.94 crore against ` 325.37 crore in the previous year.
As we move into FY 2021 we face extreme uncertainty with the possibility of major economic slowdown due to the unavoidable steps taken by the Government to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Recovery will be slow and perhaps painful across most sectors. The financial sector which was facing difficulties even before the impact of Covid-19 may witness an intensification of problems. We are confident that the Government of India along with Reserve Bank of India will continue to take deft policy initiatives which will help the economy and the banks. We are a resilient country and over time we will emerge victorious from the current challenge as well.
This brings me back to our theme this year: Leadership. Leadership for public policy as well as institutions to steer the ship in stormy seas. We need to set the course very clearly and all actors will need to do their best to point in the direction of emergence. Good leaders are those who can determine the right destination. Rabindranath Tagore wrote Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. That is what is required today.