Pudukkottai (Tamil Nadu), Nov 26: Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said commercial banks in the country accorded priority to sanctioning education loans to students for pursuing higher studies. Inaugurating the new branch of Bank of India (BOI) here yesterday, Mr Chidambaram said the banks had sanctioned Rs 14,500 crore towards educational loans, benefitting ten lakh students against Rs 4,400 crore given to 3.50 lakh students during the previous regime.
The efficient financial management of Indian banks had surprised foreign banks and some of them were seeking advice on fiscal administration from a few leading Indian banks, he said.
Poor financial management had crippled several banks in England, France, Germany and the US in the recent past.
He attributed the success of the banks in the country to strict surveillance of the Reserve Bank of India and the efficiency of the chairpersons.
The Minister said nationalised banks played a crucial role in achieving the country's economic and industrial growth.
The Bank of India's net non-performing assets ratio stood at 0.75 per cent validating the steps taken by the bank in ensuring prompt recovery of loans.
The bank's credit flow for priority sector was 43.7 per cent indicating its contribution to the nation's growth.
In his address, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests S Regupathy said there was a strong case for starting the bank's branches in major villages in the district and appealed to Mr Chidambaram to establish them at Kothamangalam near Alankudi and Naakudi near Aranthangi in the district.
Bank of India Chairman and Managing Director T S Narayanasamy said this was the 2,873rd branch of his bank.
The bank had recently started a Representative Office at Johannesburg in South Africa.
Later, Mr Chidambaram gave away loans to 118 persons to the tune of Rs 1.70 crore. He also distributed passbooks to depositors.