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SBI to look at rate cuts after RBI credit policy

Mumbai: Country`s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) today said it will consider reducing lending rates after the announcement of the Reserve Bank`s annual credit policy on April 17.

"Of course, we will look into reducing the interest rate in the future, but it will depend on the magnitude of the CRR cut (by the RBI)," SBI Managing Director and Group Executive (national banking) A Krishna Kumar said at the 6th International Banking and Finance Conference here.

"I expect the cut in the cash reserve ratio (CRR), but not sure about the repo rate," he said while talking about expectations from the RBI`s annual credit policy which is scheduled to be unveiled on April 17.

CRR is the portion of deposit that banks are required to keep in cash with the Reserve Bank. At present it is 4.75 per cent.

SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri had earlier said that RBI might cut CRR by 0.75 per cent in its annual policy, but might retain the short-term lending rate at the existing level of 8.5 per cent. "We have already reduced our interest rate on educational loan segment and we will also reduce the interest rate in the SME sector soon," Kumar said.

The reduction of interest rates in other segments, he said, "will largely depend on what the RBI does in its annual monetary policy to be announced on April 17".

The state-owned lender is also targeting 20-25 per cent overall loan growth in almost all segments in the current fiscal. "We target 20-25 per cent in the SME sector only and for overall growth of the bank, we aim at the same growth rate (20-25 per cent) during the fiscal as well," Kumar said.

On rising bad loans, he said, "we are also looking at a major improvement on the asset quality of the bank in the current fiscal".

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