One of the focus areas for Vijaya Bank this year (2014-15) will be the agriculture sector, according to V. Kannan, Chairman and Managing Director of the bank.

He told The Hindu here on Tuesday that lending to agriculture sector now was about 10 per cent of its total credit. This was expected to go up to 12 per cent or 13 per cent this year. During the last couple of years, the bank has built its capabilities for sectors such as retail and MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) lending. Credit to micro, small and medium-scale enterprises and retail loans grew by 23 per cent in 2013-14.

The total business of the bank has crossed the Rs.2-lakh crore mark in 2013-14 and is expected to grow by 20 per cent this financial year. While deposits grew by 23 per cent, assets increased by 15 per cent, he said.

The bank opened 159 new branches last year and plans to add another 190 or 200 this year. While it will look at continuity in States where it is strong, it will look at expanding to areas where it is not present. The bank will also expand its network in States that has good economic growth. The bank has 12,900 employees and plans to recruit 1,200 more this year (including officials). The recruitment would include about 150 specialists in areas such as information technology and agriculture, he said.

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