Andhra Bank has announced the launch of a new initiative, to facilitate speedy flow of credit to the SME (small medium enterprises) sector.

Addressing presspersons here on Friday, after lunching SME Express, a centralised processing centre at its Zonal Office in Chennai, K. K. Misra, Executive Director, said a similar centre was functioning successfully in Hyderabad and loans ranging from Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 5 crore would be processed at these centres.

The bank was also planning to open Retail Loan Express, which would offer housing loans, mortgage loans, education and vehicle loans to retail customers and these loans would be processed within seven days, he said.

New branches

He said the bank was planning to open 500 new branches in the next financial year. In Tamil Nadu, the bank would establish its second zonal office in Coimbatore soon, Mr. Misra said. A new branch was opened at Hasthinapuram (Chennai) on Friday, taking the total number of branches in Tamil Nadu to 100. The ED said the bank invited tenders to sell some of its non-performing loans. As the offers from asset reconstruction companies were not attractive, the bank would invite tenders again in the next financial year, he said.