Bad loans biggest challenge facing public sector banks: Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: Concerned over rising non- performing assets, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday asked public sector banks to focus on recovery of bad loans, which happen to be high among large corporate accounts.
Addressing a press conference after reviewing performance of PSU banks, he also said that credit disbursal to medium- sized industry has declined and was only “satisfactory” in the agricultural sector.
“Biggest challenge facing the public sector banks is NPAs  and their asset qualities,” he said, adding that a large part  of the meeting with banks’ chiefs was focused on bad loans and  the steps needed for the recovery.
Pointing out that NPAs were “high in large corporate sectors” and small industries, although they were down for the real estate segment, Chidambaram said banks have been told to focus on recovery.
NPAs or bad loans of PSU banks rose by 28.5 per cent from Rs 1.83 lakh crore in March, 2013 to Rs 2.36 lakh crore in September last year.
The Minister also said the banks recovered Rs 18,933 crore worth of bad loans during the April-December period.
Banks have been monitoring their top 30 bad loan accounts for quite some time now.
To a specific query regarding the bad loans with United Bank of India (UBI), he said the issue would be separately discussed with RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Friday.
—PTI