September 24, 2021

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Restored normalcy in PSU banks hamstrung by sticky bad assets: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman

nirmala sitharamannirmala sitharamanShe said there are lot of changes happening in the banking sector at a fast pace through digitisation. (File)

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the government was able to bring back normalcy with regards to mounting non-performing assets (NPAs) in most of the public sector banks that have been a cause of concern since 2014.

The Centre, apart from infusing required capital, monitored  the PSU banks with regular assessment and reviews while taking prompt corrective actions.

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Inaugurating the centenary celebrations of Tamilnad Mercantile Bank (TMB) at Tuticorin, Sitharaman said the problems in banking sector are major problems that concern the entire country which also made everyone feel concerned about the sector.

“Post 2014, we had witnessed major NPA problems in the PSU banks, it took five to six years to reverse the trend and bring back normalcy in most of the banks. While the banks spent energy in the recovery process, even as trying to grow their businesses,” she said.

While speaking on bringing about the efficiency in the banking system, she said the way forward for any bank was to adopt complete technology-enabled solutions.

“Today financial technology is the biggest area and using that we could cross-populate data into forms. Auto-populating data of a consumer has been very useful and it can be done only through digitisation and the management of TMB should think of greater use of digitisation. Digitisation cannot be avoided for your own good and for the sake of customers,” she said.

She said there are lot of changes happening in the banking sector at a fast pace through digitisation. “There is no necessity to open a branch in a place which does not have a  bank. To reach a customer’s bank account of the people who live there, all kind of technologies are available today. Even sitting from Tuticorin one can serve the banking requirements of people living in small villages through technology”, she said.

Sitharaman said even during Covid-19 pandemic with the use of digitisation through banking correspondents, the government’s financial disbursements were distributed to the needy after verifying their details.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi was clearly aware that banking is important and did not hesitate that there can be zero balance accounts if they were opened under the Jandhan Yojana scheme, launched in 2014. He ensured that every one must hold a bank account and be able to transact,” she said.

K V Rama Moorthy, MD & CEO, TMB, said, “To help borrowers to overcome the adverse impact of Covid-19, till date, the bank has covered 13,753 beneficiaries and the exposure to the tune of Rs 1,567.62 crore. In the era of digital banking, we were the first bank to introduce robotics in currency chest to sort and bundling of currencies in order to provide quality service to the customers. Disbursement of loans to pharma and health care units will be at the heart of a year- long series of events and initiatives from us.”

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