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Thursday, Jan 27, 2005

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Vijaya Bank to network 80 pc of biz by next fiscal

Our Bureau

Mr M.S. Kapur, CMD, Vijaya Bank

Thiruvananthapuram , Jan. 26

THE public sector Vijaya Bank has targeted to bring 400 of its branches under core banking solutions network by the end of next financial year.

This will cover nearly 80 per cent of the bank's total business. Already, 35 branches have been networked and the number will go up to 60 branches by the end of the current financial year, according to Mr M.S. Kapur, Chairman and Managing Director of the bank.

He told newspersons here that the bank was accelerating its lending to the agricultural sector in line with the Centre's policy of doubling agricultural credit in three years.

Mr Kapur was here in connection with the opening of the bank's new branch, its 893rd in the country.

On the decline in the net profit of most of the banks, he said this was due to a fall in trade profit and the higher provisions the banks had to make for portfolio appreciation. However, this was only a temporary setback as there had been an increase in the interest income of the banks, he said.

He observed that the practice of lending at below the prime lending rate to big-ticket clients like blue-chip companies was affecting the banking system. In fact, such clients are in a position to pay higher rates for their borrowings.

He suggested that the banks should be allowed to fix their own PLR and once they did it, they should not be permitted to lend below that rate. Under the present dispensation, the rich became richer and the poor became poorer, he noted.

He said export finance by banks would pick up in the coming years.

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