The newly appointed chairperson of the country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI), Arundhati Bhattacharya, on Tuesday said that keeping bad loans under control would be her top priority.
“There is no doubt in our mind that NPAs (non-performing assets) remain the top priority. It will remain a top priority...(as long as) we see the stress being around,” said Bhattacharya at her maiden interaction with the media.
The gross non-performing assets of SBI rose to 5.56%, among the highest in the system in the June quarter.
The 57-year-old Bhattacharya, who on Monday was appointed the first woman head of the 207-year-old bank, said SBI will use a lot more of IT tools to bring the NPA numbers down. She said the bank will soon be launching an IT platform in this regard.
Bhattacharya said the top government lender has under- utilised the IT architecture when it comes to dealing with NPAs, and it will leverage on the benefits of the same to get a grip over stressed assets. “We will be using IT much more. I think we have not leveraged it fully enough,” she said.
Bhattacharya, however, said she does not possess any “magic wand” to solve the problem in the next quarter or two, stating the bank is a proxy to the turbulent economy and hence, the stress will continue. But, she said there is no alarm rising on the NPA front as the economy has shown signs of improvement.