SBI hints at rate cut

Public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) has indicated it could reduce lending rates in the next two-three weeks to boost credit growth.

The Chairman of SBI Pratip Chaudhri said, “We had an ALCO (asset liability committee) meeting and there we did not cut the rates, but I am not ruling that out (rate cut). It could happen in the next two to three weeks,” on the sidelines of World Economic Forum on India summit here.

“Our rates are the best in the industry today, particularly from consumer finance, home and auto,” he added.

SBI last reduced the base rate or the minimum lending rate in September this year. The base rate of SBI is presently pegged at 9.75 per cent.

He emphasised that there has been a strong co- relation between the reduction in interest rates and rise in demand for advances. “We will see how the loan growth picks up. We are seeing a very strong co-relation as you drop the rates, the loan demand picks up very strongly," he said, adding that he would not be surprised if the home loan segment picked up by over 30 per cent in the current fiscal.

Driven by huge inflow of deposits, SBI is currently having surplus liquidity of Rs 60-70,000 crore. On NPAs, the SBI chief said it is spread across all the sectors.

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