UCO Bank eyes 20 pc biz growth, aims to cut NPAs to below 3 pc

Mumbai: Public sector lender, UCO Bank, is eyeing a 20 per cent growth in its business and a reduction in its non-performing assets (NPAs) to less than 3 per cent this fiscal (FY 12), a top bank official said.

"We have embarked upon an aggressive plan to grow our business in the coming years. We are expecting a 20 per cent growth in our business in FY 12. Also, with the initiatives that we have taken on the recovery front, we expect our NPAs to decrease to less than 3 per cent this fiscal as compared to last year," UCO Bank`s Chairman and Managing Director, Arun Kaul, told PTI here on Wednesday.

Last fiscal, the gross NPAs of the bank stood at 3.13 per cent at Rs 3,150.36-crore.

"We have set-up a separate vertical wherein we have opened around 6-7 branches for the purpose of recoveries. We will open a few more branches in the coming months. We want to clear the balance-sheet first," he said.

The bank has set up a hub in Mumbai to provide loans to small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs). This will be the bank`s second hub as it has already set up a similar one in Kolkata.

"SMEs contribute largely to the growth of the economy.

Realising the need to support such enterprises, we have decided to set up separate hubs which will take care of all loan requirements of SMEs," Kaul said.

The bank plans to open 26 such hubs this fiscal. "We plan to open another 26 hubs in this year across the country. In the first phase, 16 hubs would be set up by June and the rest would come up by September-end. Gradually we want to increase the number to 37," he said.

Working capital and term loans would be provided to SMEs engaged in the manufacturing process with investment in plant and machinery/equipment of above Rs 25-lakh to Rs 10-crore and also to the enterprises engaged in service sector with a minimum investment of above Rs 10-lakh to Rs 5-crore.

Presently, the bank has 2,200 branches and 600 ATMs across the country. "We plan to add another 800 branches and 2,400 ATMs by March 2013," Kaul said.