Would like to have 30 mn customers in 5 years: C S Ghosh

Chandra Shekhar Ghosh
With Bandhan Bank commencing operations on Sunday, it now faces the challenge of positioning itself as a universal bank. To begin with, the bank will go slow on lending, but will be aggressive in deposit mobilisation. C S Ghosh, managing director and chief executive officer of Bandhan Bank, talks to Namrata Acharya about the bank's strategy. Edited excerpts:

How would you like to see Bandhan positioned in the next five years?

It is a difficult question to answer now. But definitely, in the next five years, we would like to have nearly 30 million customers.

Your lending rates are quite high. When do you expect to bring down the lending rates?

This will take at least a year. The lending rate will depend on the cost of funds. As and when we have enough deposits to bring down the cost of funds, we will reduce the base rate. We will pass on every reduction of cost of funds to the borrower. Our deposit rates are already a little more than the market rate, which should help us garner deposits.

What kind of credit and deposit growth are you looking at by the end of this year?

The industry-wise deposit rate is close to 14 per cent. We would not like to grow below the industry rate. The credit growth rate cannot exceed the deposit rate. So the credit growth target will be decided accordingly.

Are you looking to raise any funds in the near future?

We are very well capitalised at the moment. We expect capital infusion from two of our investors, IFC and GIC, soon, which will take our capital base to Rs 3,052 crore, against the regulatory requirement of Rs 500 crore.

What will be your strategy on corporate lending?

Corporate banking is a different kind of skill, which we are yet to develop. We will continue to focus on rural and semi-urban areas, particularly the SMEs (small and medium enterprises).

What kind of relaxations have you sought from the regulator?

The banking industry was catering to one kind of people. Now it will cater to a different set of people, which might need some relaxations.

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