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SBI interest rates likely to increase
Published on 15 Jul. 2009 12:11 AM IST
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The interest rate might go up by 25-100 basis points (0.25%-1%) in next six months period, SBI chairman O P Bhatt reiterated on Monday, adding that the behaviour of interest rate will largely depend on the liquidity in the market as well as fiscal management. It may be noted that Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that the government would ensure that the rates do not go up through proper fiscal management. According to Times report, Bhat said the interest rate may firm up after the busy season credit policy. Bhatt added that a minor increase in interest rate would not affect corporates in a big way. “As per the data available, the interest cost is just 8%-9% of the total cost of top 1,000 listed companies. So, an increase in rates by even 100 basis points will not affect the corporate sector significantly. Only there will be a little pressure on the bottomline,” he added. Elaborating the current credit scenario, he said that there is huge liquidity in the banking system. But the loan offtake is very low. “Banks have put over Rs 1 lakh crore with RBI because we have no other options. The credit growth is slow. Even in home loan segment the credit growth is lacklustre. Even after offering as low as 8% interest rate we are not getting adequate home loan customers,” he added. According to him, SBI alone is losing Rs 100 crore every month because of low credit offtake. Bhatt said the net interest margin (NIM) of SBI has come down to 2.32 from 3.16 in last few quarters. “We need a minimum level of NIM to survive,” he added. Bhatt indicated that NIM of 3 would be comfortable. The proposed general insurance venture of SBI will be in place by early 2010. SBI chairman said that it has already received go-ahead from IRDA for the non life venture. Incidentally, SBI is forming a JV with IAG of Australia for the general insurance company. According to Bhatt, the proposed JV for custodian services will be ready in next 4-5 months. Incidentally, SBI is forming a JV with Societe Generale Securities Services for the JV. SBI will hold 65% in the JV firm.

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