SBI raises loans for SMEs despite recession

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Chandigarh, Nov 27 (UNI) The State Bank of India has increased its lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the sector severely affected by the current financial crisis.

Chief General Manager of Chandigarh Circle of the Bank, Mr Ajay Swaroop said in a press conference here today that the bank faced no liquidity problem in present crisis and would open over 140 branches all over the country by March 31.

To meet demand of more work force, 1,000 probationary officers (PO) and 20,000 clerks had been recently recruited while around 3,500 more POs would be recruited in this finacial year.

In view of the recent economic meltdown, the bank had in fact expanded the loan support for the SME units, which were hit by piling up of inventories, falling prices, drying up of liquidity and increasing interest rates.

The bank had taken several steps like relaxation of norms for margin, extending the cover period for inventories, additional need-based finance, deferment/re-scheduling of instalments, grant of adhoc limits for short term among others, to mitigate the hardships being faced by the vulnerable SME sector.

He informed that the 'exposure' of SBI to SME sector in Chandigarh Circle, comprising Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Chandigarh, had grown by Rs 1,066 crore till October in the current year, which is almost 20 per cent more than the growth during the same period last year.

The bank's total advances to SME sector in the circle stand at around Rs 12,000 crore. The Bank has set for itself an ambitious target of Rs 3,000 crore in advances to SME sector for the current year.

During the current year, the circle's deposits have grown by Rs 5,626 crore, which enabled the Bank to take care of all the needs of its customers for funds.

He informed that to understand the problems being faced by this sector, the bank had recently organised two seminars in Chandigarh and Ludhiana in which representative of various industries like auto-components, real estate, timber, engineering goods, textiles and hosiery, garment manufactures had participated.

UNI PS MP NS1917

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