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UCO Bank unlikely to cut rates now

Somasroy Chakraborty/Kolkata 05 Jan 13 | 02:40 PM
Related to : UCO Bank
 UCO Bank

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UCO Bank is unlikely to revise its lending or deposit rates before the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) third quarter review of monetary policy on January 29, 2013.

"There is tightness in the liquidity. Hence, deposit rates are staying firm. We will wait for signals from RBI on the direction of interest rates. We are unlikely to revise our rates before the monetary policy," S Chandrasekharan, executive director of UCO Bank, told reporters here today.

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Earlier this week HDFC Bank reduced its Base Rate or minimum lending rate by 10 basis points to 9.70%. But most banks have maintained status quo on their rates despite demand for rate cuts to revive slowing growth of the Indian economy.

Chandrasekharan said the bank has been reducing its dependence on bulk deposits and focusing on mobilisation of low-cost deposits to keep its cost of funds under control.

He was confident that the state-run lender will be able to reduce its share of bulk deposits (including certificate of deposits) to 15% by March, 2014. The bank's net interest margin is expected to be around 3% by the end of this financial year. It was 2.24% during July-September quarter.

UCO Bank witnessed 18.5% rise in deposits and 14.7% growth in advances during the one period ending December, 2012. Credit growth was primarily on account of rising demand for retail loans as most companies continue to refrain from borrowing money to start new projects.

The bank expects around 20% growth in its total business in the current financial year.

Chandrasekharan said the bank has not witnessed any significant deterioration in its asset quality in the just concluded October-December quarter. In the previous quarter the bank saw its credit quality deteriorate as its loans to Sterling Biotech turned non-performing.

While Chandrasekharan declined to offer specific details he added that efforts were made to recover the money from the biotechnology firm.

UCO Bank has also requested the government for Rs 800 crore equity capital that will help the lender in keeping its tier I capital ratio above 8%. The bank's capital adequacy ratio was 12.27% at the end of September, 2012.

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