Even as big-ticket loan demand continues to be tepid, private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank is confident of maintaining up to 20 per cent growth in corporate loan book this financial year.
"We would be able to sustain our corporate credit growth of 15-20 per cent this year as well. This is possible because of the comparatively lower base," bank’s president for corporate banking KVS Manian told PTI.
The demand will be split evenly between term loans of slightly longer duration as well as working capital loans, he said, adding the bank has a bias towards taking balance sheet-led term-loan exposures wherein it sees a company’s balance sheet strength to service the debt.
It can be noted that the slowdown in corporate demand in the last few years has led to a lot of banks focusing on retail segment.
Manian acknowledged that the demand is slower and attributed it to the sluggish economic growth due to which greenfield projects are not coming up and also disintermediation, wherein better-rated corporates are going to money market alternatives to raise money rather than from banks.
The bank has not revised its conservative approach when it comes to segments like infrastructure which have reported problems in the past, he said.
When asked if the newly-started vertical focusing on large corporates will help drive loan growth, Manian said the corporate and investment banking vertical is not aimed at loan growth alone.
The vertical is for focusing on the needs of a large corporate across financial services and will also help the bank earn fee income through services like debt capital markets and investment banking, he said.
On his expectations of revival in large ticket loan demand, Manian said it will come in the final quarter and will be driven by an improvement in the sentiments.
"Optimistically, it can happen in the December quarter, but otherwise, I feel it will happen in the fourth quarter," he said.
Kotak Bank had recently cut its base rate by 0.10 per cent, taking its cumulative cuts to 0.25 per cent during the fiscal.
When asked if he fears losing business to larger rivals like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and SBI who have lower base rates, Manian replied in the negative, saying Kotak Bank can compress its spreads over the base rate to book loans.