Patna, Nov 23: The State Bank of India (SBI), Bihar Circle, has been playing an active role in the industrial rejuvenation programme of the state by increasing its credit portfolio substantially during the current fiscal despite recording a negative growth in NPA accumulation.
SBI Bihar Circle Chief General Manager (CGM) A Krishna Kumar expressed this view here last night during an interactive session with members of the Bihar Chamber of Commerce (BCC) on the role of the Banking sector in industrial growth of the state.
Describing the recent visit to the state by Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani to explore the business opportunities and his subsequent meeting with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as a ''turning point'' in the ongoing industrial rejuvenation programme of the state, Mr Krishna Kumar said the high profile visit had amply signified the importance and potential of the state in terms of industrial growth in the coming years.
Reiterating the ''increased commitment'' of the SBI in carrying forward the zeal for an all-round growth of the state, which, till recently, was considered to be one of the most backward states, particularly in terms of industrial growth, the CGM said keeping this in mind, a number of steps, including internet banking, had been introduced recently.
He, however, regretted that a poor Credit/Deposit Ratio (CDR) of only about 30 per cent in the state was the main stumbling block in ushering in an economic boom.
While the CDR in most of the other states was hovering around 60 to 70 per cent, in Bihar, it still remained at around 30 per cent which was very poor by any standards, Mr Krishna Kumar observed.
When his attention was drawn towards the poor recovery of NPA by all public sector banks in the state and that the situation in the SBI was no better, the CGM, acknowledging the fact, recollected that the gross NPA in the SBI was found to be as high as 40 per cent last year.
''We have already raised the issue during periodical meetings between the state government and the State Level Bankers' Committee (SLBC) but to no avail,'' Mr Krishna Kumar regretted and hoped that the situation would soon improve with some concrete action from both sides.
Commenting on the overall business scenario in the state and describing it as ''upbeat'', the CGM assured the BCC members that sincere efforts were being made by the bank to increase different credit portfolios substantially from every branch and co-lateral options for the borrower were also waived for credit upto Rs 50 lakh.
Since the state government had underetaken a massive programme for the development of infrastructure in Bihar by improving the road and power sectors, majority of the credit transactions were presently from those sectors, Mr Krishna Kumar observed.
Regarding various bank charges imposed on general customers without their knowledge, Mr Krishna Kumar denied the allegations, saying that every new bank charge was published through the SBI website and in every branch.
He also assured to take up the issue in right earnest with the appropriate authorities.
Earlier, BCC president and noted industrialist O P Shah, along with several other senior members, highlighted some of the major problems being faced in seeking long-term high volume credit from public sector banks, including the SBI, and sought their immediate redressal.