SBI may cut interest rates to boost credit: Bank official

Without indicating the timeline for the rate cut, CFO Diwakar Gupta said, the bank would take a call on the issue after taking into account the "spreads and profitability."

The country's largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), is "keen" to cut interest rates in order to boost credit expansion, a top bank official said.

"All sentiment is building towards it (an interest rate cut)...we are keen to do it," the bank's chief financial officer (CFO) Diwakar Gupta told reporters on the sidelines of an International Research Conference organised by the RBI.

Without indicating the timeline for the rate cut, he said, the bank would take a call on the issue after taking into account the "spreads and profitability."

The Reserve Bank of India last month reduced the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), the portion of deposits that banks are required to keep with the central bank, from 6% to 5.5% releasing Rs32,000 crore of primary liquidity into the system. As regards SBI, the CRR cut would unlock Rs5,000 crore for the lender. Although the RBI did not cut its lending rates, the CRR reduction had raised hope of interest rate cut by the lenders.

According to Gupta, a rate cut can happen even before the reduction of repo (short-term lending rate) by the RBI.

With the CRR cut, the bank stands to earn up to Rs500 crore over the year, he said, adding it enhances "the ability (of SBI) to pass on the relief when the conditions warrant".

The Government too has recently approved Rs7,900 crore of fund infusion into the bank to help it expand business without sacrificing the capital adequacy norms. SBI, according to estimates, would need additional capital of around Rs16,000 crore next year. The bank's lending book expands by around Rs1,50,000 crore every year and going by that figure it will require Rs15,000 crore to Rs16,000 crore in capital next year, Gupta explained.

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IDBI MF considering introduction of more equity products

“We want to introduce more equity products," IDBI Asset Management Company executive director B Sarath Sarma told reporters.

Asset management company IDBI Mutual Fund is mulling over the introduction of more equity products in the coming months, a senior official said.

"Presently, the equity markets are doing well... We want to introduce more equity products...," IDBI Asset Management Company Executive Director B Sarath Sarma told reporters.

He said the company wanted to give more options to customers since the equity market was doing well and that was the reason for their proposal to introduce more products in the equity market. "We want to give more choice to our customers and distributors...," he said.

On the company's financials, he said it had Rs6,100 crore of assets as of 31 December 2011, compared to Rs2,000 crore in the previous year.

Sarma and senior officials were here to launch their new product, IDBI Dynamic Bond Fund, which opened for subscription on 31 January 2012. It will invest in a portfolio comprising debt instruments such as government securities, public sector undertakings, corporate bonds and money market instruments.

"This is a retail product. We look forward to better our earlier NFOs (New Fund Offers) and this becomes the flagship brand of IDBI," he said. The scheme closes on 14 February 2012 and will reopen for sale and repurchase on 23 February 2012.

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Rs1,000 notes to be issued non-sequentially: RBI

‘The packets of Rs1,000 banknotes in non-sequential number will have hundred notes:’ RBI

The Reserve Bank said it will soon start issuing banknotes of Rs1,000 denomination in non-sequential numbering.

The packets of banknotes in non-sequential number will have hundred notes, the apex bank said in a statement. In June last year, RBI had started issuing Rs500 denomination notes in non-sequential numbering.

"It has now been decided to issue banknotes of Rs1,000 denomination also on similar lines," the statement said.

The bands of the packets containing the banknotes in non-sequential number will be superscribed with the words 'the packet contains 100 notes not numbered sequentially'.

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