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Retail loans surge as RBI seeks to stem possible risks

Indian commercial banks' retail lending has risen faster than loans to large businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic, S&P Global Market Intelligence data showed, underscoring the central bank's concerns about unsecured loans.

New Delhi, Jan 29,2024:  Indian commercial banks’ retail lending has risen faster than loans to large businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic, S&P Global Market Intelligence data showed, underscoring the central bank’s concerns about unsecured loans.

Retail loans was the fastest-growing segment among the three biggest private sector lenders, and among their state-owned peers, since at least the fiscal year ended March 2021.

For State Bank of India, the country’s biggest lender by assets, retail loans grew 42.7% to 12.43 trillion rupees by September 30, 2023, from 8.71 trillion rupees as of March 31, 2021.

Credit to corporates was up 19.4% over the same period. The bank’s public sector and private sector peers — such as Bank of Baroda Ltd, where retail loans increased 61% in the same period, and Axis Bank Ltd., where retain loans rose 57% — showed a similar trend.

The proportion of retail loans as a percentage of domestic loans has increased only slightly at the six banks in the S&P Global Market Intelligence sample, the data showed.

HDFC Bank Ltd was an exception among the major banks as its retail loans jumped in the wake of its merger with parent Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd, a home finance company.

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