Allahabad Bank to focus on retail credit

Kolkata: State-run Allahabad Bank plans to give thrust on loans having low capital requirement like housing, gold and among others and is also aiming at a growth of 20 per cent in the retail credit portfolio, said it Annual Report 2015-16. "Going forward, the Bank is looking at a growth of 20 per cent in the retail credit portfolio. Also, major thrust on loans having low capital requirement like housing loans, gold loans, etc will be given," bank Chairman and Managing Director Rakesh Sethi said in the report.  Retail credit portfolio stood at Rs 25,894 crore as on March 31, 2016, up 19.20 per cent as against Rs 21,723 crore in the previous year. The lender said it will adopt a three-pronged strategy - recovery of overdues, achieving healthy growth in retail advances and mobilising CASA deposits on liability side with emphasis on savings bank accounts. The share of retail credit portfolio against the gross credit, however, increased from 14.19 per cent in 2014-15 to 16.42 per cent in the last fiscal. Housing loan, a key constituent under retail credit grew at a pace of 27.39 per cent, the report said. Sethi said improvement in consumption demand in both urban and rural areas is expected to drive the growth in manufacturing output while capacity additions and government initiatives are likely to give a boost to the electricity and mining sectors. "The Seventh Pay Commission awards are expected to further bolster urban demand in FY17. Further, prospects of normal monsoon after two consecutive droughts are expected to prop up rural demand," he said. The city-headquartered bank posted a net loss of Rs 743.31 crore in the last fiscal due to higher provisions that increased by 27.05 per cent during the year. As the RBI, in its first bi-monthly policy 2016-17 announcement, introduced a slew of measures to address the liquidity condition in the banking system apart from reducing the repo rate from 6.75 per cent to 6.50 per cent, Sethi said: "The change in stance on maintaining liquidity closer to a neutral position rather than a deficit and the halving of the policy rate corridor would also aid in softening interest rates, at least in the short term."