Mumbai: State Bank of India on Friday registered its highest ever yearly profit in 2019-20 and logged a four-fold rise in March quarter profit at Rs 3,581 crore as one-time gains from stake sale in subsidiaries and decline in bad loans bolstered the country’s largest lender.

The bank reported a standalone profit after tax of Rs 838 crore in January-March, 2018-19. For 2019-20, the bank reported its highest ever yearly profit of Rs 14,488 crore as against Rs 862 crore in the previous year.

SBI said exceptional items during 2019-20 included net profit of Rs 3,484.30 crore on sale of certain portion of investment in subsidiary SBI Life Insurance in the second quarter and net profit of Rs 2,731.34 crore on sale of some stake in SBI Cards and Payment Services in March quarter.

Despite not so easy circumstances even before Covid-19, the bank has declared a record profit of Rs 14,488 crore in FY20, which is the highest ever profit for SBI in its history.

We have consistently been able to improve our asset quality as well as the provision coverage ratio quarter after quarter, bank’s Chairman Rajnish Kumar told reporters.

Close to 21 per cent of the bank’s retail borrowers have availed the three-month moratorium announced by the RBI. Kumar said in spite of the bank extending the moratorium to all its customers, nearly 82 per cent have paid two or more instalments and about 92 per cent have paid one or more instalments during March to May.

The central bank had initially allowed banks to offer moratorium on repayment of term loans till May 31 but later extended it for another three months.

The three-month period has just started but my feeling is that our numbers (customers availing moratorium) would not be significantly different than what they were in the first three months. It may even improve (in June-August period) as we exit the lockdown, Kumar said.

He said the bank has extended the standstill benefit, in terms of asset classification, to accounts with an outstanding loan of Rs 6,200 crore. It has made a provision of 15 per cent aggregating Rs 938 crore on these loans.

Domestic net interest margin (NIM) stood at 2.94 per cent in January-March, 2019-20 as compared to 3.02 per cent in the year-ago period.

Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) ratio improved by 138 basis points to 6.15 per cent from 7.53 per cent and net NPA was down by 78 basis points to 2.23 per cent from 3.01 per cent.

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