Provisioning hits Q4 results

United Bank of India (UBI), which made its initial public offer in February, has reported a 74.5 per cent increase in its net profit which touched Rs. 322.40 crore on the back of a total business of Rs. 1,10,936 crore.

Bank Chairman and Managing Director Bhaskar Sen said at a press meet that business was expected to be of the order of Rs. 1.4l lakh crore this fiscal. however, the bank's fourth quarter results have taken a hit due to higher provisioning for non-performing assets (NPAs).

The bank was now closely monitoring its NPA portfolio while strengthening the recovery department.

The fourth quarter net profit at Rs. 46.40 crore was significantly lower than that in the same period in the previous year.

“There was a Rs. 980-crore slippage in certain accounts during the year of which Rs. 488 crore was during the last quarter,” a bank official said. As on March 31, 2010, the bank's net NPA stood at 1.84 per cent. Mr. Sen said that leveraging technology and managing the human resource of the bank which would be requiring 1,000 trained persons annually, were the challenges that have to be met. UBI Executive Director S. L. Bansal said that the bank would shortly go in for campus recruitment for agriculture officers.

It was also planning to provide banking facilities in 1,000 unbanked villages either through a branch network or through business correspondents.

Mr. Sen said that auto loans did very well last year (71 per cent increase) and retail loans will be a focus area for the bank. In 2009-10, retail loan increased by 34.4 per cent to Rs. 5,726 crore. Replying to a question, he said that he saw no hardening of interest rates now.

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