SBI to keep net interest margin at 3.61 per cent this quarter

The bank should be able to maintain the NIM in the current quarter similar to what was achieved in the last quarter (September-December 2010), SBI Chairman O P Bhatt said on the sidelines of an AIMA event here.

NIM, a barometer of efficiency of the core banking operations of any bank, in layman's language can be described as the difference between a bank's cost of funds and cost of lending. SBI during the September-December period had recorded an NIM of 3.61 per cent.

"For the current quarter we are placed comfortably...I see no difficulty during this quarter or (as far as )this financial year is concerned," he said. The cumulative NIM improved significantly by 84 basis points to 3.40 per cent from 2.56 per cent at the end of December 2009.

When asked about further capital raising plan for the bank, Bhatt said there was no immediate requirement, but added that in the next financial year there could be some. Meanwhile, SBI's Rs 2,000 crore retail bond issue has opened for subscription today. The bonds will attract coupon rates between 9.75 per cent to 9.95 per cent for retail investors.
For the next fiscal (2011-12), SBI has already taken board approval for raising capital bond market. On the liquidity condition, Bhatt said it is much better now. There could be some pressure on liquidity during the advance tax payment in March. However, system is geared for it. There not be any problem, he said.

When asked if RBI could increase the key policy rates further in between 50-75 basis points, he said, rise of 50-75 basis points was too high. "I am glad that it (food inflation) is coming down...I don't know (if) there is pressure (on RBI) even now. But even if it is there it would be less," he said.

RBI last raised short-term lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates by 0.25 percentage point in its third quarterly review of monetary policy on January 25, 2011.

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