State Bank of Travancore (SBT) proposes to expand its branch network further and recruit over 2,000 more employees in the current fiscal, the bank's Managing Director P. Nanda Kumaran has said.

The bank opened 87 new branches in 2011-12, taking the total number of its branches to 879 by the year-end. Of these, 676 branches were in Kerala, Mr. Nanda Kumaran said. The target this financial year was to take the total number of branches to 1,000.

He said 450 of the employees being recruited this financial year would be in the officers' cadre and nearly 40 of them would be specialists, including law graduates. Around 600 employees had retired from the bank last year. The bank recruited 987 employees in 2011-12.

The bank opened a new zonal office in Thrissur last financial year with jurisdiction over the branches in Thrissur and Palakkad districts. The bank also opened 14 specialised ‘gold point branches' covering 13 districts in Kerala and the district of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. These ‘gold point branches' were to facilitate easy disbursement of gold loans to customers, Mr. Nanda Kumaran said.

The bank also set up one rural self employment training institute each in Wayanad, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam districts that had so far trained 13,022 aspiring entrepreneurs, more than 90 per cent of them being women. Most of them had already started self-employment ventures, he said.

Total business of the bank went up by 21.69 per cent in 2011-12 to touch Rs.1,26,816 crore as against Rs.1,04,202 crore last year-end. Deposits increased to Rs.71,470 crore from Rs. 58,158 crore and advances to Rs. 55,346 crore from Rs. 46,044 crore.

Priority sector lending grew by 16.91 per cent to Rs. 20,287 crore from Rs. 17,353 crore. It constituted 43.64 per cent of the adjusted net bank credit as on March 31, 2012, surpassing the stipulated benchmark of 40 per cent. Star performer of the year was agriculture lending, which increased by 60 per cent to Rs. 8,902 crore in 2011-12 from Rs. 5,580 crore last year.

Gross NPAs constituted 2.66 per cent of the total advances and net NPA 1.54 per cent of the net advances as on March 31, 2012. The bank's provision coverage ratio stood at 61.73 per cent.

The capital adequacy ratio under Basel-II norms was 13.55 per cent as against a minimum of 9 per cent, stipulated by the Reserve Bank of India. The Tier-I CRAR, as on March 31, reigned at 9.35 per cent, Mr. Nanda Kumaran said.