Credit growth sustainable: SBI chairman

MUMBAI: SBI chairman Dinesh Khara has said that Indian banks have learnt their lessons from earlier defaults and are taking steps to ensure that the current growth in bank credit is sustainable and does not risk defaults. “We have learnt from the lessons of the past decade. . . the last infrastructure story when a lot of the promoter equity was nothing but hybrid debt. Today, it is not just equity but the quality of equity that banks are looking at,” said Khara. He was speaking at SBI’s 9th Economic Conclave in Mumbai on Wednesday. Khara said that corporates have turned cautious and have much stronger balance sheets. “Today, there is amuch better social infrastructure. Earlier, the insolvency code did not exist, and there was no risk of losing control of an enterprise. The insolvency code has instilled a sense of discipline. Also, the changes in the ecosystem in terms of credit bureau, credit ratings and Goods & Services Tax Network have given us pretty good data to evaluate,” said Khara. The SBI chairman said that although credit growth continued to outstrip deposits, the bank had enough headroom to sustain this and has surplus investment in government securities. “Our credit-de-posit ratio is still at around 65%, and we can go up to 75% and resources will not be a constraint,” he said. Khara said that there was no risk of liquidity in the banking drying up. “There are several levers of liquidity. One of them is government spending. Almost Rs 2. 5-3 lakh crore of government funds is lying with the RBI,” said Khara. Once the government starts spending, money will come into the banking system, he said. Khara said that the economic story for the next 25 years would be infrastructure-led growth, propelled by PM Gati Shakti — the national logistics and infrastructure pipeline. Khara said that the pace of growth in the country was accelerating. “The first $1-trillion (gross domestic product) took about 50 years and thereafter we are adding $1 trillion every fifth year. The way the situation stands, we are expected to be a$40-trillion economy from $3. 3 trillion,” said Khara.

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