Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Review Performance Of Public Sector Banks

Bankers confident of withstanding macroeconomic shocks due to strong financial health of PSBs

Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman chaired a meeting on Thursday, to review the performance of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) on various financial health parameters for the financial year 2022-23.

The meeting was also attended by Union Minister of State for Finance Dr. Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad; Finance Secretary and Secretary Expenditure Dr. T.V. Somanathan; Secretary, D/o Financial Services (DFS) Dr. Vivek Joshi; Secretary, DIPAM, Shri Tuhin Kanta Pandey; Secretary D/o Public Enterprises Shri Ali Raza Rizvi; Secretary, M/o Corporate Affairs Shri Manoj Gohil; Secretary, D/o Revenue Shri Sanjay Malhotra; Secretary, M/o Housing and Urban Affairs, Shri Manoj Joshi ; Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Dr V. Anantha Nageswaran; Chairman, State Bank of India, Shri Dinesh Khara; and MDs & CEOs of Public Sector Banks, besides senior officials of DFS.

During the review meeting, discussions were held with the heads of PSBs on the positive macro trends, improved business sentiments, ‘Twin balance sheet advantage’ and performance of PSBs.

All the major financial parameters viz., credit deployment, profitability, asset quality, capital adequacy etc. indicate that the performance of PSBs has significantly improved. They’re adequately capitalised, resilient, and have sound financial health.

It was noted that the Asset quality of PSBs has improved significantly with gross NPAs at 4.97% and net NPAs at 1.24% in March 2023. During FY 2022-23, PSBs earned a record aggregate net profit of around ₹1.05 lakh crore, almost triple from net profits earned in FY 2013-14. Strengthened by high capital adequacy of 15.53% CRAR (comparable to major economies of the world), clean balance sheets supported by a healthy provision coverage (90.68%), and improved resilience, PSBs are well positioned to support the credit needs of the productive sectors of the growing economy.

In their assessment of the overall situation, bankers were of the view that with strong financial health, they are comfortably placed to withstand any macroeconomic shock.

Smt. Sitharaman emphasised banks’ adherence to the regulatory framework by focusing on risk management, and diversification of business base. The business outlook is progressively improving in spite of the headwinds from recent global banking sector developments.

The Union Finance Minister noted that while the overall Priority Sector Lending (PSL) have exceeded the mandated target, the PSL targetsin the sub-categories should also be met, including, interaliaagriculture — particularly the small & marginal farmers, and the micro enterprises.

The Union Finance Minister said that she will also chair meetings in the month of July-August 2023,in different regions of the country to review the functioning of the Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) along with their sponsor banks, with a special focus on the status of technological upgradation of the RRBs. The review of the RRBs would commence from 21stJuly 2023 at Tripura, in which the Union Finance Minister will conduct a review of the functioning of the RRBs in the Northeast. Meetings to review the functioning of the RRBs, along with the corresponding sponsor bank, will then be held by the Union Finance Minister region-wise in the North, West, South, East, and Central parts of the country.

Secretary, MoHUA, highlighted the progress on PMSVANidhi Scheme through a presentation. He said that efforts are being taken to improve the adoption of digital payment tools and around 33 lakh beneficiaries are digitally active. Union Finance Minister asked the banks to lead a special campaign to ensure the onboarding of the PMSVANidhi beneficiaries on digital payment systems.

On improving lending under PMSVANidhi, it was decided that Union Minister of State (Finance), Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad will ensure a special drive for expanding the coverage of PMSVANidhi, with the assistance of the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Dr. Karad will visit different regions of the country in 6 phases before 1st September, 2023, for the special credit outreach drive on PMSVANidhi.

The Union Finance Minister further advised PSBs to —

a) Ensure an increase in rural, agriculture and sectoral credit to meet the Priority Sector Lending (PSL) norms and further ensure that the PSL targets are achieved across all sub-categories.
b) Meet the targets for the credit to street vendors under PMSVANidhi and the momentum of disbursals gained under PMSVANidhi should be sustained.
c) Ensure that there is a fair and transparent recognition of NPAs as per the extant guidelines of the regulator and banks should periodically review it internally to ensure that there is proper recognition & reporting of the stressed assets.
d) The sponsor banks of the Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) should ensure a time-bound technological upgradation of the RRBs and continuously monitor their functioning to make them more efficient and effective, which will immensely benefit the people living in rural areas.
e) Address associated business model risk with robust risk management practices and have efficient and optimum Asset Liability Management;
f) Take steps to improve the deposits and adopt a focused approach on ease of services and customer protection.

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