Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday chaired a meeting to review the performance of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) on various financial health parameters, and the resilience of PSBs in light of the current global financial scenario emanating from the failure of some international banks in the US and Europe.
The meeting was attended by Union Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad; Vivek Joshi, Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS); and MDs & CEOs of Public Sector banks.
During the review meeting, an open discussion was held with the MDs and CEOs of PSBs on the global scenario, particularly the failure of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and the Signature Bank (SB) along with issues leading to the crisis in Credit Suisse. Sitharaman reviewed the exposure of PSBs to this developing and immediate external global financial stress from both the short and the long-term perspectives.
During the PSB review meeting, the finance minister emphasised preparedness along with due diligence through adherence to the regulatory framework by focusing on risk management, and diversification of deposits and assets base.
She underlined that PSBs must look at business models closely to identify stress points, including concentration risks and adverse exposures. She also exhorted PSBs to use this opportunity to frame detailed crisis management and communication strategies.
The MD & CEOs of the PSBs told the finance minister that they follow best corporate governance practices, adhere to regulatory norms, ensure prudent liquidity management and continue to focus on having robust asset-liability and risk management.
Further, she was also informed by the PSBs that they are vigilant of developments in the global banking sector and taking all possible steps to safeguard themselves from any potential financial shock. All the major financial parameters indicate stable and resilient PSBs with robust financial health.
After detailed deliberations, the finance minister advised PSBs to remain vigilant about the interest rate risks and regularly undertake stress tests. Sitharaman also highlighted that PSBs must leverage the full potential of branches opened in International Financial Services Centres in GIFT City Gujarat to identify international opportunities, including prospects related to Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs).
Also, during the course of discussion on the general banking scenario prevailing in the country, Sitharaman advised PSBs to:
–take focused steps to attract the deposits given the measures taken by the Government to reduce the tax arbitrage in some debt instruments;
–pivot their strengthened financial position to support the credit needs of the growing economy;
–focus on credit outreach in states where the credit off-take is lower than the national average, particularly in the Northeast and Eastern parts of the country;
–enhance business presence in new and emerging areas like One District One Product (ODOP), e-NAM, and drones; and
–aim to increase brick-and-mortar banking presence in border and coastal areas.
She said the PSBs should promote the Mahila Samman Bachat Patra announced in the Budget 2023-24 through special drives and campaigns.