Newly appointed State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar on Thursday addressed his first press conference since the decision was announced yesterday. Kumar said that he was already in discussions on how to revive corporate credit growth and how to resolve non-performing assets (NPAs). He asserted that people would see changes on that front. “In 3 years, you will see a bank which has completely transformed itself. We have 420 million customers,” Kumar said. Kumar also said that infrastructure and consumer spend was where bank has huge opportunities.”The bank is well positioned to capitalise on them,” the SBI Chairman said.
SBI, which accounts for more than a fifth of India’s banking assets, has seen bad loans rise after it absorbed five subsidiary banks earlier this year. Kumar replaces Arundhati Bhattacharya, who implemented major reforms during her four years at the helm and became one of the most high-profile executives in India.
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Arundhati Bhattacharya is completing her four-year term on Friday. Kumar, aged 59 years, was one of the four managing directors of the SBI. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved his appointment as the SBI chairman for a period of three years from the date of taking over the charge on or after October 7, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) was quoted as saying by PTI.
Kumar, as the new head of the bank will have to tackle the issue of ongoing resolution of bad loans while supporting growth through increased lending. Huge non-performing assets (NPA) of public sector lenders is a major cause of worry for the government. Kumar joined the SBI board on May 26, 2015. Kumar faces the daunting task of addressing the issue of massive NPAs of the bank. Gross NPAs of the public sector banks rose to Rs 6.41 lakh crore at the end of March 2017 as against Rs 5.02 lakh crore a year ago, according to a Finance Ministry data. As many as 1,762 wilful defaulters owed Rs 25,104 crore to State Bank of India as on March 31, 2017, it said.
He had earlier served as Chief General Manager, Project Finance and Leasing Strategic Business Unit, it said. Kumar has held several key assignments across various business verticals, including two overseas assignments in Canada and the UK.