‘We’re looking for more opportunities’

On Tuesday Kotak Mahindra Bank announced the acquisition of the SME lending business worth Rs 700 crore from Barclays Bank. Paul Parambi, Head (Group Strategy) told The Indian Express that the bank could go for more such acquisitions if it makes strategic sense. Excerpts:

Give us some idea about the profile of clients that you acquired from Barclays?

We acquired around 6,000 business loan customers. They are mostly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) spread across the country. These customers are from all the sectors and all these loans are performing assets. There are no non-performing assets.

You had acquired the auto loan kitty of Ford Credit, stressed credit card assets. What's your strategy?

We consider inorganic growth as important. We look at three things while looking at such businesses: Performing loans, attractive price and whether it will further add to the business. While acquiring these clients, we are adding to the number of clients who can be potential customers for other products.

Many banks have reported stressed assets from SMEs. Do you foresee any problem from the segment?

Our experience with SME borrowers has been good. For any sector, it depends on the risk that you're taking. How a segment does depends on the assessment of the risks.

How is your loan book faring? How did your gross NPA figure move last year?

Our NPAs are under control. We follow stringent approach towards provisioning. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, our gross NPAs have come down from 1.3 per cent to 1.2 per cent. and net NPAs from 0.7 per cent to 0.6 per cent. Our restructured loans are just Rs 9.7 crore, or 0.02 per cent of the advances.

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