United Bank to focus on MSMEs, plans to raise funds

Kolkata:State-run United Bank of India on Tuesday said it will focus on lending to MSMEs and on retail loans 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 the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and retail segments," Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer P. Srinivas told the bank's 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. The bank set a target of growing by 30 per cent in retail loan segment. "We want to grow by about 30 per cent this year in retail segment. We grew by about 20 per cent in this segment last year," said Executive Director Sanjay Arya. The bank will increase retail segment's share in its loan portfolio of which 35-40 per cent is currently accounted for by corporate lending, Arya 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," Srinivas said. He said the bank is looking at 10-12 percent business growth this financial year.  Srinivas said capital is scarce and so costly. The bank 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. "We have obtained Rs 480 crore capital from government last year. The government plans to infuse Rs 25,000 crore in the banking system. We expect to get some share of it," Arya said. 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 (NPAs) 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.