SBI to reduce SMEs' lending rates

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India’s largest government owned lender, State Bank of India (SBI), plans to reduce its lending rates for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from June onwards so as to win them back to its fold, says a report.

SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri has said that the bank’s current lending rates for the SME sector ranges between 12-17 per cent. This will be brought down to 10.5 per cent to 15.3 per cent.”

According to SBI deputy managing director Sharad Sharma, the reduction in interest rates is expected to bring back the SME customers the bank had lost due to high lending rates. Lending to SME accounts for around 14 per cent of the bank’s total advances of Rs 800 billion.

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According to Chaudhuri, SBI is hoping to bring down its net non performing assets (NPA) to 1.62 per cent this fiscal from 1.8 per cent and a separate Stressed Asset Management Group has been formed to focuss on stressed loans and recover them.

He said SBI is also asking its borrowers to look at restructuring of their loans before any default while planning to approach Moody’s to review the bank’s rating as its capital base has been strengthened.

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