Two days before he takes over as State Bank of India’s chairperson, Rajnish Kumar on Thursday said sorting bad loans was his top priority. He, however, added that the bank would still find opportunities to lend, especially in the infrastructure sector that accounts for a huge chunk of the banks’ stressed assets.
Asset quality will “look much much better” in future, he said, according to Reuters. The bank may also appoint separate senior executives dealing with stressed assets and loan growth, Kumar said.
Kumar will replace Arundhati Bhattacharya as the chairperson of India’s largest bank on October 7.
“We are already in discussions on how we revive credit growth, how we resolve the [non-performing assets],” said Kumar. “That discussion, we will try to bring it to a conclusion very quickly. And you will see some changes.”
Kumar also said the bank was “well poised”, and would not need more capital from the government before March 2019.
Banks in the public sector unit wrote off a record Rs 81,683 crore in bad loans in the 2016-’17 financial year. Non-performing assets in 2015-’16 were Rs 57,586 crore, 41% less than the latest figures of the Finance Ministry. SBI accounts for over a fifth of India’s banking assets, and its stressed assets rose sharply after it merged with five subsidiaries in April.