In a bid to beat the industry slowdown, South Indian Bank (SIB) is planning to focus on retail traders to achieve its business target of Rs. 1 lakh crore by March 2014.   “We have a target to reach 25 per cent growth this fiscal,” said Cheryan Varkey, Executive Director of SIB, here on Monday at the inauguration of the SIB corporate branch. Mr. Varkey pointed out that, till September 30, the bank grew by about 24 per cent to achieve a business of Rs. 67,000 crore.

 “Although the present economic situation makes it a challenge to hit the target, we are going to focus on certain areas to achieve our targeted growth,” Mr. Varkey said.

“The biggest challenge is to maintain the growth. If industry fails to grow, then our growth rate will certainly decline. To overcome this, we are focusing on retail traders such as textiles, pharmaceuticals and jewellers,” he added.   Talking about assets, he said: “Except for our Rs. 150 crore exposure to Nafed (National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation of India Ltd.) which has slipped into non-performing asset (NPA) during the second quarter,due to employee-related fraud, our asset quality has been good.”

 “The bank had net interest margin of 3.1 per cent during the quarter that ended in September. We aim to achieve net interest margin of 3 per cent in this fiscal,” he said.  

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