'Credit growth stable and healthy'

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Bangalore, Aug 19: Recent hike in interest rates following Reserve Bank of India increasing the 'PLR' in its bid to arrest rising inflation has not affected credit off take, RBI Deputy Governor V Leeladhar said. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, he said the credit growth was 26 per cent between July 2007 and June 2008 and during the current year it was better. This is against the projection of 20 per cent, he said.

''The credit growth has so far been healthy, though there is some slowdown in retail lending. Farm credit should offtake once the season starts. There is some slowdown in retail credit but advances to corporate and mid sized companies has not been affected at all,'' he said. He opined that in the months to come there could be a slow down in credit offtake but it would not be substantial. ''We are continuing with an optimistic growth rate,'' he said.

On banking reforms and allowing local banks to have tie ups with foreign financial institutions, he said the first phase of reforms had come to an end and a full review would be taken up shortly which would bring out the facts.

On the trouble over merger of associate banks of SBI, which had evoked protests, he said such decisions had been a board driven decision. We come in only when such mergers are done and RBI asked for final approval.

Mr Leeladhar said credit card related frauds were not substantial in the country as the base was still very small.''Only when there is loss of a credit card we see some defaults happening. The banks will have to be careful on this. Systematically, there may not be any problem,'' he added. He said there was nothing wrong in banks seeking credit card holders to avail the credit facility. Credit card counselling had been launched by banks for those who had not been familiar with the system.

He said newer technologies like mobile and satellite-based banking was gaining popularity everyday. ''Electronic system is advantageous as it could almost eliminate frauds and facilitate speedy remittance. In Delhi the experience has been extremely good,'' he said.

UNI

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