Reported loss due to shift to new tax regime: Sanjiv Chadha, Bank of Baroda

bank of baroda, sanjiv chadha, new tax regime, quarterly earnings, Banking

If we had not opted for the new tax regime, our net profit would have been Rs 2,200 crores which is the highest in the history of the bank. In terms of both quarterly and annual performance, this is the best that the bank has ever done, said Sanjiv Chadha, MD & CEO,

Bank of Baroda

to ET Now. Edited excerpts:

There has been decent growth in your operating profit, and your provisions have come down year on year. What explains the loss during the quarter because even your NPAs are lower than your proforma GNPAs?

To look at our results, I think we need to look at three or four key parameters. The key parameter for any bank as of last year was that post pandemic how is the asset quality going to work out. It has worked out well for the bank. The credit cost which is the single biggest determinant in terms of profitability actually came down very significantly by 60-70 bps. The second part which determines the profits of the bank is the cost of deposit. CASA growth was 16% and ratio grew from 39% to 43%.

All the components which should translate into good profits have been there, which is why our profit before tax for the year moved up from minus 1,800 crore in the previous year to 5,500 crore during the current year. So, there is a growth at the PBT level of about Rs 7,000 crores. Now because we have such a high taxable profit, we thought that this is the right time for us to transit into the new tax regime which lowers the tax rate for the bank from 33-34% to 25%. When you opt for the lower tax regime, there is an adjustment which happens in the deferred tax asset. This adjustment needs to be taken to the P&L. Your profits still accrue to your capital account, but nevertheless it shows again in terms of the quarterly result which is why our quarterly results show a negative of about Rs 1,000 crores.

If we had not opted for the new tax regime, our net profit would have been Rs 2,200 crores which is the highest in the history of the bank. In terms of both the quarterly performance, as well as the annual performance in terms of the profits of the bank, this is the best that the bank has ever done. The net profit for the full year would have been Rs 4,000 crore plus, but because of this tax adjustment the reported net profit for the year is about Rs 800 crore which is still about 50% higher than the last year.

To answer your question again, clearly the negative figure in the P&L for the quarter is only on account of accounting feature. The bank has made profits and those profits have been transferred to the capital account and have boosted our capital adequacy ratio.

What led to the Q4 gross NPAs being lower than the proforma GNPAs of last quarter? Your provision cover stands at about 82%. What kind of provision would you like to make going ahead?

When we have had these conversations over the last year, our guidance has been that the credit quality should improve as far as the corporate portfolio is concerned because the credit cycle has changed. The credit cost should come down and that credit cost reduction should make up for any stress that might be there in the MSME book or to a lesser extent in the retail book. Our results pretty much bear out that guidance, despite some impact on the MSME portfolio and the retail portfolio.

There has been a very significant reduction in the credit cost as far as the corporate portfolio is concerned, which is why overall credit costs have come down. We believe that we should see something similar during the current year. It is a fact that the second wave has been unanticipated setback, but nevertheless, when it comes to the large corporate segment, the impact has been less. The impact on the economy has been less. The lockdowns have been calculated very carefully, so we believe that in terms of the impact on the bank’s bottomline, we should continue to see a lowering of credit cost which in turn should translate into an improvement in profitability.

Are you seeing an impact on demand for consumer credit? FY21 growth was also subdued at sub 2%, what do you expect for FY22?

It is best to discuss first what happened in the last year, because as you might say the second wave is still with us and therefore the impact is something, that would be out over the next few weeks and months. But our stance was that we would want to grow in line with the industry growth rate and within that we would want to grow faster than industry in our chosen segment. It was expected that the industry growth rates last year would be between 5 to 7%, so we had grown pretty much in line with the industry growth rate which was about 5 to 5.5%. But within that, in our chosen areas we have grown much more quickly.

So, our organic retail has grown by 14%, within that our home loans have grown 11%, car loans 27%, our gold loan portfolio has grown 35%. In the areas that we believe that the bank can grow aggressively in a risk mitigated manner while keeping our spreads intact, we will grow faster. But overall growth we believe should be in line with the industry, which as per current estimates should be somewhere between 7 to 10%.

What is the kind of recovery you expect, especially from written off accounts? How would you like to improve your provision cover as well, which currently stands at 82%?

In terms of recoveries, even in the last year despite the challenges particularly in the first half when there was a widespread lockdown, we had good recoveries. In fact, our recoveries in written-off accounts were nearly two times as compared to the previous year. This year also we are positioned to have decent recoveries because there are cases in the NCLT where the resolutions have already been finalised and we should be seeing some progress in terms of finally getting our money.

In terms of other recoveries and one-time settlements, I think that process is again on. We are fairly sanguine that the recoveries as far as this year is concerned should be higher as compared to last year and they should also contribute towards again a sustained improvement in credit quality.

The board has approved raising around Rs 5,000 crore, including Rs 2,000 crore via shares, QIP and Rs 3,000 crore via AT-1 tier-2 bonds. What would be the timing of this capital raising and what is the investor feedback you have seen so far?

We had one round of capital raising in the last financial year, we did a QIP of Rs 4,500 crore which was very successful. And on account of that QIP of Rs 4,500 crore, Rs 3,500 crore that we raised by way of AT-1 bonds and internal accruals of nearly Rs 4,000 crore we have been able to push up our capital adequacy ratio from 13.3% at the beginning of the year to nearly 15%. It is 14.99% at the end of the year.

We believe we are reasonably well placed in terms of capital. As of now, our assessment is that with credit cost trending downwards, we should be able to support growth from internal accruals. But we have also recognised that there is an element of uncertainty and therefore as a contingency we have taken approval from our board for a round of capital raising. So, it is only towards the end of the year that we will assess what the position is, but as of now our simple assumption is that we should be able to fund our likely growth during the year entirely from internal accruals.

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