Arundhati Bhattacharya, the new chairperson of State Bank of India, is all set to intensify the war on non-performing assets (NPAs) in the coming quarters.
“We are going to make sure that the intensity is much, much more,” she said in her first media conference as SBI head on Tuesday.
To improve NPA management, SBI will employ more tools than before, with emphasis on effective use of IT.
Bhattacharya said IT is going to be used in risk mitigation, product pricing, customer-related issues and in raising productivity. The bank will also ramp up technology to tackle loan recovery.
Focus will also be on structure rationalistaion and improved time resolution to fight bad loans.
“We will also be looking at rationalising NPAs’ structure, as to how it is managed and who exactly takes them on and at what stage, to ensure we get much better and quicker responses. We will also look at seeing how we can cut down the time span that we normally go through in resolving NPAs,” she said.
SBI’s net NPAs, which were at 1.79% of its net advances in 2008-09, have risen to 2.10% in 2012-13. In the April-June quarter, gross NPAs rose to 5.56 %.
Besides tackling NPAs, IT is going to be used aggressively in several other SBI functions. SBI is currently implementing a digital platform and wants to make it bigger and better in the coming days.
Another priority for Pratip Chaudhuri’s successor is believed to be the much-talked-about merger of SBI’s associates State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Patiala with the parent.
However, Bhattacharya believes that any such merger is unlikely any time soon, considering that only five months are left in this financial year. But it is possible that the merger process may well start this fiscal, she said.