Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Bank held the 82nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of its shareholders for the financial year (FY) 2019-20 through video-conferencing from its corporate headquarters in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Financial Commissioner (Finance Department) Dr Arun Kumar Mehta (IAS) represented the J&K UT Government, the majority shareholder of the bank. Besides, the bank’s Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) R K Chhibber, Directors on board of the bank, Executive Presidents, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Company Secretary and a large number of its shareholders attended the e-AGM through virtual mode.
Summing up the bank’s performance during the FY 2019-20, the J&K Bank’s CMD said, “Despite the COVID-19 crisis which had far reaching economic and social repercussions, J&K Bank has delivered a strong balance sheet. During the fiscal, the Bank registered an Operating profit of Rs 1525.05 crore, with an improved NIM of 3.92 pc. Further, taking cognizance of the continued pressure on asset quality due to impact of COVID-19, the bank enhanced NPA Coverage ratio by more than 14 percentage points from 64.30 pc to 78.59 pc while bringing down the net NPAs considerably from 4.89 pc to 3.48 pc.”
“Cost of deposits was maintained at 5 pc by improving the CASA base to 53.66 pc. The loan-book of UTs of J&K and Ladakh have witnessed growth of 13 pc thereby re-orienting the lending composition of the bank with UTs of J&K and Ladakh getting 63 pc of total advances of the Bank”, he added.
Citing increased provisions as reason for hiccups in the Bank’s journey towards glory during the last many quarters, the CMD attributed it to the increase in level of NPAs due to impairments in corporate portfolio outside J&K, primarily contracted under consortium/multiple bank arrangements.
“Now that J&K Bank has shifted its focus to retail and agriculture lending across the country and corporate lending has been restricted to top rated corporate, the shift has begun yielding favourable results”, the CMD said.
Expounding on the effects of dual challenges faced by the bank since the second quarter of the FY 2019-20, Chairman R K Chhibber said, “Shortly after the disturbances during the second quarter of FY2019-20 derailed the trade activities, the bank had to face an unprecedented disruption in the economic activity caused globally by the Covid-19, which has led to major changes in operations of trade, commerce and industries without exception.”
“The Bank was the first-mover in various initiatives which include introducing a top-up finance scheme for business community to ease their cash flow issues, making hassle-free overdraft available in PMJDY accounts, generous contribution of 3 days’ salary by all staff members to the COVID relief fund, disbursement of social security benefits to female PMJDY account holders, PM KISAN beneficiaries”, he added.
Chhibber further said, “J&K Bank was also quick to pass on benefits of moratorium on loan installments and interest servicing, announced as relief package by the central government, as per regulatory guidelines”.
“We also extended the COVID-19 stimulus package under Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) to eligible businesses & MSMEs. Under the Central Government’s Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) scheme, the Bank has so far made disbursements to the tune of Rs 1639.70 crore to 46516 borrowers,” he added.
Terming the announcement of Rs 1350 crore financial package by the Lt Governor of J&K UT as a game changer, he said, “It will help not only in revival of businesses in the UT of J&K but also relieve the Bank from a major portion of stressed assets resulted out of the current situation.
“Interest subvention of 5 pc announced in financial package by the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, along with release of previous year’s interest subvention aggregating to about Rs 1081 crore in favour of business community shall help in regularization of stressed assets and improving the overall asset quality of the bank,” he asserted.