Canara Bank will multiply MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) lending in Tamil Nadu by minimum three to four times, R.K. Dubey, its Chairman and Managing Director said here on Sunday.

Unlike in the areas of priority sector lending wherein Tamil Nadu’s nearly one-fourth share in business pushed up the bank’s performance significantly, of the Rs.32,000 crore lent to MSME sector nationwide, the State’s share was only Rs.4,000 crore.

Based on the feedback at a customer meet in Chennai, the interest rate for MSME has now been brought down to 12.5 per cent, the lowest in the country. Earlier, the interest rate ranged from 13.5 to 15 per cent. MSME lending will be accelerated through the Sulabh Centres at Circle Offices.

Likewise, retail lending will also be expanded substantially in Tamil Nadu from the existing level of 12 per cent, at Rs.2,500 crore out of Rs.21,000 crore overall, Mr.Dubey told mediapersons. Of the Rs.5.5 lakh crore overall business, transactions exceeding Rs.61,000 crore pertained to Tamil Nadu. As many as 628 of the bank’s 3,700 branches were in Tamil Nadu, he said.

Mr. Dubey was hopeful of increasing customer base to five crore by the end of this fiscal from around 4.5 crore at present, and exceed a target of Rs. 5.75 lakh crore business. New products pertaining to mortgage loan and gold loan financing will be introduced on a pilot basis. On overseas business, Mr. Dubey said the five branches functioning at London, Leicester, Shangai, Hong Kong, and Bahrain were contributing to 4.7 per cent of the bank’s business. The share of overseas business will get beyond the 10 per cent mark once nine more branches, for which the RBI has sanctioned approval, commence their operations. For the proposed foreign branches, including in New York, Frankfurt, Qatar, Jeddah, Brazil, Nigeria and Tanzania, approval was awaited from the regulatory agencies of the respective countries, the CMD said.

Earlier, Mr. Dubey chaired a customer meet at the level of Tiruchi circle that covers 12 districts, including Karaikal of Puducherry. At a retail mela organised in connection with the meet, MSME loans amounting to Rs.12.8 crore were sanctioned for 10 units, and proposals worth Rs. 8.47 crore were received from seven units.