Private banks back to play
By Neelima Shankar
Apr 28, 2010
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The top three private banks of India are again back in form after some sad quarters. The largest private banking entities in India namely, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank have shown commendable performances even after strict monetary control maneuvers by RBI to control inflation.

The banks have reported an increase in their loan books, improvement in their asset qualities and also a maintainence of their margins.

The loan book of banks which had seen a steep fall to 10% in the third quarter revived itself to 16% by the end of the fourth quarter. The private banks have come out of their conservative approach of protecting their asset quality and have started lending more. Lending to the retail segment is also seeing a rise now.

HDFC Bank booked a 25% growth in retail loan book for FY10. The corporate lending grew by 40% in the March quarter.The advances of the bank grew by 27%.

Speaking for ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO, ICICI Bank, says, "For the current fiscal (2010-11), we intend to expand our loan book by 15-20 per cent and deposits by 20 per cent. We see demand coming from segments like home loans, car loans, CV (commercial vehicle) loans, project finance and trade finance."

The bank has booked Rs. 1,81,206 crore growth in loan book for FY10.

Repricing of high cost deposits has allowed banks to maintain higher margins in the last quarters. The CASA deposits of HDFC Bank's have shown a rise by 50% in the March quarter which is currently the highest in the industry.

Axis Bank has seen a growth in net interest margin (NIM) by 70 basis points on a year to year basis to 4.1%. HDFC's margins have shown a 20% growth to 4.4%.

The provisions of these three banks have grown in this quarter leading to a rise in their net profits. NPAs of HDFC Bank have been reported to just 0.3%. However, for ICICI Bank, this was 2.1 per cent. Axis Bank's net NPAs for the March quarter stood at 0.4 per cent.


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