United Bank to focus on MSMEs, plans to raise funds

Kolkata: State-run United Bank of India on Tuesday said it will focus its lending on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and retail and will avoid capital guzzling sectors. The bank is planning to raise up to Rs 1,000 crore ($145 million) in one or more tranches through a public issue or qualified institutional placement (QIP) or rights issue for which it sought shareholders' approval at its Annual General Meeting here. "In 2016-17, the bank's focus areas for lending would be in the MSME and retail segments," Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer P. Srinivas told the shareholders. The bank will strive to achieve all its targets under Mudra Scheme, Standup India scheme and strengthen its retail channels, particularly housing, education and vehicle loan segments, he said. "While making advances, the bank will endeavour to avoid sectors which are capital guzzlers and concentrate on government guarantee schemes. The bank will also augment its resources to ensure wealth generation for the future," he said. Srinivas said capital is scarce and so costly. The lender will try to conserve and strengthen capital position in the current financial year. The bank's capital adequacy ratio under Basel III stood at 10.08 per cent with Tier I capital at 7.93 per cent as on March 31, 2016. Srinivas said the bank posted a net loss Rs 282 crore in 2015-16 as against a profit of Rs 256 crore in the previous year. The loss was primarily due to rising non-performing assets (NPA) on the back of Asset Quality Review (AQR) conducted by the RBI and slippages of some bigger corporate accounts, having its cascading effects on all other operating and financial parameters, he added.