"Sitting On 1 Lakh Crores, But Can't Be Business As Usual": SBI Chairman

State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar said SBI did not have a liquidity crunch, amid indications of slowdown in the economy

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SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said despite no issues with liquidity, it can't be "business as usual"


New Delhi: 

As concerns mount over a cash crunch in the economy, State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar said he has at least Rs 1 lakh crore to lend for investments. The Chairman of the country's biggest lender was responding to questions on whether banks' reluctance to lend was contributing to the slowdown.

Rajiv Kumar, the Vice Chairman of the centre's think tank NITI Aayog, last week said India had not faced the current kind of "liquidity situation" in the last 70 years, adding there was a trust deficit. "Within the private sector, nobody wants to lend to anybody else."

When asked about the NITI Aayog officer's comments, the SBI Chairman said his bank did not have a liquidity crunch.

"That is what you have to ask the NITI Aayog. If you ask me that as the State Bank, what is the liquidity position, State Bank of India alone today can fund more than Rs 1 lakh crore in one month. That is the kind of liquidity I'm sitting on. The entire banking system is flush with cash. Now the lending is also happening," said Rajnish Kumar, adding, however, that big projects "are fewer".

When probed further, he admitted banks are being careful.

"There has been some change in the approach... We are careful, absolutely. Because it cannot be business as usual. We are careful upon the appraisals, vis-a-vis the requirements, visibility of equity whether promoter is in a position to bring in equity," he said.

Rajnish Kumar said companies are trying to reduce debt, "which is not a bad thing."

"But if they deleverage or they reduce debt, then obviously credit that goes to the corporate sector cannot be as high as we expect it. These are some structural changes which are going on and which are for the good," he said.



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