Lend more to small units, Palakkad banks said

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A District Banking Review Committee meeting held here on Saturday appealed to banks to increase their lending to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the district.

Chairing the meeting, District Collector Mrunmai Joshi expressed. She said it was disappointing.

Bank lending to the non-agricultural sector in the district has been below expectations. Of the ₹13,551 crore provided in loans, banks gave ₹6,018 crore to the agriculture sector, ₹1,535 crore to MSMEs and ₹1,633 crore to other priority sectors including education and housing. Of the total loans, ₹9,186 crore was given to the priority sector. The banks’ outstanding loan as of December 31, 2021 was ₹37,891 crore and the deposit was ₹57,984 crore.

CD ratio improves

The credit-to-deposit (CD) ratio had improved from 64% to 65%. Although the assembly found it a positive sign, the need to raise it to 70% was underlined by bank officials.

District Industries Center chief executive Girish Kumar said banks wanted to lend to big businesses and discouraged small and micro entrepreneurs. District Panchayat Chairman K. Binumol also urged banks to support MSMEs.

Kavitha Ram, deputy director general for district development of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), urged banks to focus on long-term lending. She asked them to use the possibilities of the agricultural infrastructure fund. It was in 2020 that the government introduced the agricultural infrastructure fund, and many banks were unaware of its potential. “You need to focus on lending in a way that promotes post-harvest infrastructure,” she said.

VK Sreekandan, MP reviewed the performance of banks in the district for the third quarter of the current financial year. The meeting congratulated Mrs. Joshi, who had won the awards for best collector and best electoral agent. N. Vidyasagar, Division Manager of Canara Bank, delivered the keynote address.

The problems of the tribes

Tribal extension worker K. Girija explained the banking problems faced by the tribesmen in the district. District finance officer VR Satheesan called on tribal development officials and banks to empower and educate tribal members. “They (the tribesmen) should understand the importance of having non-zero balance accounts,” he said.

State Bank of India Regional Manager KR Anandanarayanan has offered to help the tribesmen open non-zero balance accounts using the bank’s corporate social responsibility funds.

Senior District Manager Sreenath RP and Senior District Manager Reserve Bank of India Ranjith EK oversaw the review. Lead Bank Deputy Director V. Santhosh spoke.

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