Chandigarh: The Punjab National Bank on 12 June said it will start ‘bank adalats’ across the country from next month in its bid to reduce its non-performing assets.
“Like Lok Adalats, we will be starting bank adalats wherever there will be NPA accounts,” PNB chairman and managing director, K C Chakrabarty, told the media here after holding a state level bankers’ committee meeting.
He said the bank’s gross NPAs stood at Rs4,300 crore and added that cases below Rs25,000 would be considered at the ‘adalats’.
Stressing there was a need to take technology to the rural areas as only 37,000 branches of all the banks in the country operate in such areas despite the existence of 600,000 villages, he said, “we are experimenting on some models at present”.
He said “poor man’s banking or mass banking is unviable unless we have technology.”
Chakrabarty said that the 112-year-old bank was third in terms of profit.
“Our total business rose 21.7% to Rs2,36,456 crore at the end of March 2007. Deposits amounted to Rs1,39,860 crore, up 16.9%. Low cost deposits formed 46.16% of total deposits while advances rose 29.4% to Rs96,597 crore,” he said.
Credit to agriculture increased by 27.3% to reach Rs18,571 crore while share of agri credit in net bank credit stood at 18.9% as against national goal of 18%.
The bank also plans to increase its ATM presence and the customer base from 35 million to 50 million.
“We are in talks with the Railways to install 100 ATMs at about 50-60 railway stations,” he said, adding that the bank also plans to launch its credit card by early next year.
On the bank’s foreign presence, he said PNB has been granted licence by Hong Kong Monetary Authority to set up a branch in that country.
“We also plan to open offices at Singapore (offshore banking unit) and a subsidiary at Canada,” he said.
On the performance of banks in Punjab 2006-07, he said 100% financial inclusion has been achieved in Gurdaspur and Mansa and six more districts had been identified to achieve this by end of September.
The overall advances to Minority Communities have risen from Rs11,896 crore as on March 2006 to Rs15,889 crore in March this year, up 33.6%.