Allahabad Bank may open 250 branches this year

Allahabad Bank plans to open 250 branches this year, significantly more than the 100 branches opened during the last fiscal.

“With over 2,500 branches across the country, our focus now is to ensure that we are seen as a pan-India bank,” Mr T.R. Chawla, Executive Director, Allahabad Bank, told Business Line on the sidelines of the Global Investors’ Meet 2012 in Bangalore on Wednesday. According to him, being spread out across the country will help reduce risk for the bank.

The bank has already recruited 1,600 probationary officers and 350 specialist officers so far, and plans to recruit about 1,200 clerical staff going forward, he added. Allahabad Bank is also aggressively going for customer acquisition and “we are also providing the technology-based products to all customers,” said Mr Chawla.

FOCUS AREAS

The bank saw an 18 per cent growth in advances last fiscal, and this year, the focus would be on SME, agriculture and retail sectors for lending. However, “we have no appetite for power and steel, and we are selective on lending to the textile sector,” said Mr Chawla.

On lending to the telecom sector, he explained that the bank is yet to firm up on whether to aggressively lend in that sector, and “we will remain cautious this year too,” he added.

CASH RECOVERY TARGET

The bank was facing a challenge in terms of quality of assets, he said, adding that during the current quarter, focus would be on recovery of assets.

“We have kept a cash recovery target of Rs 500 crore during the April-June quarter, and we are hopeful of achieving that,” he added.

On whether the SME sector was impacted due to the rupee depreciation and the uncertain global economic scenario, he said that SMEs have been facing delays in payments from their clients, but “since about 75 per cent of their exposure has been covered, they are not impacted much. If at all, they are experiencing a slowness.”

Source: Hindu Businessline, 7 June 2012