Allahabad Bank, one of the leading public sector banks, has turned its attention towards southern states in its expansion plans during the current financial year.

Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala witnessed business to the tune of Rs.. 18,778 crore during the previous fiscal. But the four states together had only 148 branches, out of the bank’s 2,536 branches.

Accordingly, a major chunk of the bank’s new branches would be opened in the southern states during the year, Allahabad Bank chairman and managing director J.P. Dua said.

Mr. Dua was in Hyderabad on Saturday in connection with the tele-launch of the bank’s two new branches in Nellore and Anantapur. Of the 250 branches it proposed to open across the country, the bank secured licences for four more branches in A.P. against the target of 20 branches set for the current year.

Speaking to reporters, he said the bank would focus on retail, small and medium business and agriculture during the current year. The credit off-take from the corporate sector was not up to the mark owing to the current economic situation, but he said: “We are hopeful of improvement in the

situation with cautious optimism.”

The bank had no plans for introducing “teaser loans” unlike other banks and it was comfortable as far as the capital adequacy ratio was concerned. “We have headroom for Rs. 7,000 crore and we will act as and when the need arises,” he said. The bank had also restructured good number of accounts while there were still requests from medium and large firms.

On the growth plans, he said Allahabad Bank achieved total business of Rs. 2.71 lakh crore with net profit of Rs. 1,857 crore during the fiscal 2011-12 and it was hopeful of achieving 20 per cent growth during the current year.