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Mumbai: State Bank of India Chairman Dinesh Khara on Friday said that the bank is cautiously optimistic that the bank will be able to deliver the same performance in the current fiscal year 2022 as it did last year.

“In conclusion, the Bank adjusted to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and is better positioned to tackle any subsequent wave. I am cautiously optimistic that the performance trajectory of FY2021 will continue in FY2022 as well," said Khara at the bank’s annual general meeting on Friday.

The current financial year has begun with unexpected second wave of COVID-19 infections. Although the containment strategy this time included avoiding complete lockdown and managing the situation through micro-containment zones, the impact on the economy will nevertheless be felt, he said.

Khara also said that SBI will continue to accelerate its digital agenda. The bank will focus on expanding the scope and reach of YONO further.

Another main area of focus for SBI this year will be recovery. Khara said that the rollout of pre-package insolvency for resolution, resumption of courts and formation of National Asset Reconstruction Company, efforts will be in full force to keep the momentum in stressed asset recovery in the current financial year.

The state-run bank had seen an improvement in overall asset quality in the fourth quarter of FY21 as gross NPAs as a percentage of total advances stood at 4.98%, down 117 bps from a year ago.

Khara also made it clear that the bank is comfortably placed in terms of growth capital. Opportunities for lending in promising sectors will be explored to diversify the portfolio and contain risk, he said.

SBI had reported an 80% jump in net profit to 6,451 crore in the three months ended 31 March, topping the 6,166.2 crore average estimate in a survey of 10 analysts by Bloomberg.

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