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Thursday, October 18, 2012

No funds given to Robert Vadra, says Corporation Bank CMD

Corporation Bank Chairman and Managing Director Ajai Kumar on Thursday said no funds by way of loan or overdraft has been given to Robert Vadra, son-in-law of UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Replying to a question as to whether the public sector bank had given over Rs 7.5 crore to Vadra, who is currently embroiled in a controversy over a real estate deal with housing major DLF Group in Haryana, he reiterated the bank’s position: “We have already denied it. There is nothing new to add. We don’t have any documents whatsoever to comment on this issue.”

Addressing a press conference here, he said the bank plans to increase the number of its branches from the targeted 1,800 this year to 3,000 in three years. The bank would also add 1,000 ATMs this fiscal to the existing 1,274 ATMs.

Kumar said his bank plans to open 17 SME loan centres across India this year, one of which was opened in Ahmedabad on Thursday. These would disburse loans worth a targeted Rs 5,000 crore to the SME sector this fiscal.

Maintaining that India’s growth story was intact, he said the retail sector alone was a $100-billion opportunity in the next few years. Corporation Bank, too, is expecting 16-17 per cent annual growth.

Favouring a CRR cut for reduced interest rates to promote growth, although it could also fuel inflation, Kumar said growth required money at the “right cost”. “The lesser the rate of interest, the higher could be the rate of growth.”

He maintained that India should strike a balance between inflation and growth. “If CRR and the cost of funding comes down, we would be able to provide more loans.”

As regards the bank’s scheme to advance loans against gold, Kumar said farmers could take benefit of it at only 7 per cent interest rate as against 120 per cent they normally pay to the traditional usurer. This scheme is so popular now that as against a target of Rs 1,000 crore worth of loans this year, Rs 3,200 crore has already been advanced. The bank expected it to reach the Rs 5,000-crore mark by March 2013.

He also said Corporation Bank may soon launch Android and i-Pad applications to expand its net banking network. The SME loans were also a technology-driven product.


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