Bank lending 50 per cent higher in October-February

Bank credit growth is accelerating with unlock trade gathering momentum as aggregate loans disbursed in the five months to February this year rose nearly 50 percent.

An analysis of RBI’s credit data shows that banks lent Rs 5 lakh crore between end September and February of the current fiscal compared to Rs 2.3 lakh crore in the same period of FY’20. As of February 26, overall credit growth was higher at 6.6 per cent than 6.1 per cent a year ago. But loan growth in September’20 was lower at 5.1 per cent compared to 8.8 per cent in the same period a year ago, indicating that the unlock phase has spurred credit demand.

Much of the growth in the post pandemic period has been due to various government initiative undertaken as a part of the stimulus package to help the MSME sector to revive the economy post COVID-19. ” ECLGS disbursements at Rs 1.6 lakh crore in the first nine months of this fiscal have lent support” Ratings firm

said in a report.

Besides, the better monsoons this year also lifted prospects for agriculture even as the pandemic derailed the industry and services sector. This also reflected in growth of agri-loans have also risen at a higher pace this year at 9.9 per cent in Januray, compared to 6.5 per cent with fresh sanctions in absolute terms crossing the Rs one lakh crore mark so far this fiscal.

But the trends till January also show that since the pandemic, some new heads like loan against gold jewellery-132 per cent, bank lending to non-HFC NBFCs-150 per cent, social infrastructure-98 per cent and aviation-120 per cent has gone up by over 100 per cent.

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As for loan against gold jewellery this can largely be attributed to focus of banks towards secured lending products post LTV relaxation, said a report by ICICI Securities. “NBFCs, after having consolidated for almost 2 years now, significantly deleveraging the balance sheet by running down high risk profile assets, are now more confident to pursue growth opportunities in a risk-calibrated manner” it said.

Besides lending opportunities arising out of general economic revival and pick up in consumption demand, banks will also have an edge over NBFCs because of their access to low cost funds. “Competition is intensifying. With low-cost funding access, banks will be aggressive in the retail segments, especially housing and new vehicle finance” Crisil said.


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