'BoB to confine its focus on SME lending'

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Bangalore, May 24: The century-old Bank of Baroda, one of the top lenders to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country, will continue its focus on SMEs, Chairman and Managing Director M D Mallya said today. Speaking to reporters on his first visit to city after taking over as the new CMD, he said BoB had advanced Rs 11,880 crore as loans to the SME sector and this could be increased by about 30 per cent this year.

In the previous fiscal it had grown at the rate of 21 per cent compared to 2006-07 figures of Rs 9006 crore, he said. He said the bank was not thinking of issuing perpetual bonds in the near future even though BoB had been allowed by the RBI to go for such an issue.

''RBI has allowed us to raise 15 per cent of our net worth but at present we are not thinking of it. Our Capital Adequacy Ratio is at a comfortable level of 9.83 per cent last year, against the norm of six per cent. We are yet to firm up plans on the bonds,'' he said.

He said BoB would open ten more new branches overseas during the current fiscal. It had a representative offices in China and Australia, and this would be converted into branches.

''We have a subsidiary office in Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies, which runs one branch at present. We are going to open four more branches this year. We are going to come in Mustafa in Abu Dhabi, applied for licenses to open one more branch in Gulf region and one in Houston, capital of Texas state in the US, he said.

Mr Mallya said BoB also had plans to open a branch in New Zealand, however but it may not come through this year.

The BoB Chief said the bank would open 92 new branches during the current fiscal which included seven in Karnataka.

On its centenary year, the bank intends to take up its national banking business share from the current 3.85 per cent to four per cent.


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