State Bank of India to keep interest rates down to support economic growth
State Bank of India (SBI) will try to keep the interest rates benign as long as possible with a view to supporting the economic growth, its chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara has said.
On the impact of the second wave of Covid-19 on non-performing assets of the bank, the SBI chief said that as the lockdown was not pan-India, one will have to wait and watch to assess its impact on the banking sector.
Observing that multiple variables, including inflation, have a bearing on the interest rates, he said, “Our effort is to support the growth initiatives. To ensure that happens, we will try to keep the soft interest rate regime for as long as possible.”
Khara further said it is too early to give any colour to the likely scenario of NPAs because of the local restrictions.
The impact of the lockdown differs from state to state as it is not uniform, he said, adding, “So, probably we can wait and watch for some more time before making any comment on the impact on the economy and NPA situation”.
On the various initiatives of the country’s largest lender, Khara said, SBI has decided to set up makeshift hospitals with ICU facilities for Covid-19 patients in some of the worst affected states. The bank has already earmarked Rs 30 crore to set up makeshift hospitals for Covid patients.