Mumbai: At a time when lenders are rationalising branches, Axis Bank has decided to add 400 branches in the financial year 2018-19, taking its network beyond 4,000. The expansion is part of a strategy to grow retail business and expand the deposit base.
Axis Bank executive director and head of retail Rajiv Anand said, “We found that applications for our online savings account ‘ASAP’ were coming from 16,000 locations. We did a survey and found that the reason why most of them chose Axis Bank was because there was a branch nearby.”
Axis Bank, the country’s third-largest private lender, on Friday raised marginal cost of funds-based lending rates (MCLRs) by 10-15 basis points (bps). The one-year MCLR at the bank now stands 10 bps higher than earlier at 8.5%, the highest among large banks. MCLRs for shorter tenures will range between 8% and 8.4%. The two-year and three-year MCLRs stand at 8.6% and 8.65% respectively.
Axis Bank has put on sale a 600-megawatt (MW) thermal power plant in Madhya Pradesh set up by the Avantha Group-owned Jhabua Power, according to sources. The plant had availed loans worth Rs 3,018 crore from a consortium led by the private lender in December 2009. Axis Bank’s exposure stood at Rs 325 crore. Emails sent to spokespersons at Axis Bank and the Avantha Group did not elicit responses till the time of going to press. The plant became operational on May 3, 2016.
FDs maturing between one year and 14 months will also yield 7.1%, 35 basis points (bps) higher than earlier. All deposits of under Rs 1 crore with longer maturities will earn 7%. The 14 months to 17 months bucket was earlier priced at 6.75%, while all maturities ranging between 17 months and 10 years earlier yielded 6.9%.
The stock of Axis Bank gained 8.97%, on Friday, despite reporting its first-ever quarterly loss as investors were enthused by outgoing CEO Shikha Sharma’s declaration that the recognition of bad loans in this cycle is “nearly complete.”
The stock ended the session at Rs 538.90 on the BSE, and was the best performing Sensex stock on Friday.
Private sector lender Axis Bank reported its first net loss, of Rs 21.8 billion, for the quarter ended March as non-performing assets (NPAs) soared and provisions for bad loans surged three times over the corresponding quarter last year.
The results were well below Street expectations on most key parameters, including profits.
Axis Bank, which has the largest exposure to Echanda Urja Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd, has sold part of its loans to government-owned Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and Central Bank of India in 2017-18, in a bid to reduce exposure in the company.
With this, Axis Bank has reduced its exposure in Echanda Urja by Rs 2 billion to below Rs 3 billion, and the rest of the debt will also be sold in due course, said a source close to the development.
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