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Improved cost ratios to boost State Bank of India's profitability

By Devangshu Datta
February 26, 2024 13:07 IST
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India’s largest PSU bank, State Bank of India, delivered excellent results, once the impact of a big jump in employee expenses was adjusted for.


Photograph: Sudipta Banerjee/ANI Photo

The net interest income (NII) beat the Street due to a better net interest margin (NIM) and good loan growth.

The credit growth at 5.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter (Q-o-Q) (15 per cent year on year) was excellent for a large bank.

The NII was reported at Rs 39,800 crore (up 4.6 per cent Y-o-Y) due to better NIM at 3.07 per cent (3.04 per cent in Q2FY24) and stronger loan growth.

Deposit growth was 13 per cent Y-o-Y and other income was at Rs 11,460 crore (up 6.2 per cent Y-o-Y) due to a combination of higher fees and treasury gains.


The operating expenditure was broadly in line at Rs 30,940 crore (up 27 per cent due to wage hikes).

An exceptional item was an extra Rs 7,100 crore related to employee liability – including Rs 5,400 crore pensions and Rs 1,700 crore ex-gratia.

The core pre-provision operating profit (PPoP) was at Rs 16,030 crore, while PPoP stood at Rs 20,330 crore.

Asset quality was stable and gross net performing assets (GNPA)/net NPA declined by 13 basis points (bps) and 2 bps Q-o-Q to 2.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively.

Gross slippages were lower at Rs 5,050 crore (Rs 5,250 crore in Q2FY24).

Provisions were lower at Rs 690 crore due to write-backs.

The restructured pool was 0.33 per cent of advances.

The core net profit was Rs 11,300 crore - adjusted for that one-off , net profit was Rs 14,400 crore.

The sequential loan growth was broad-based with domestic credit offtake driven by corporate (up 4.7 per cent Q-o-Q), SME (up 7.5 per cent Q-o-Q), agri (6.5 per cent ) and retail (4.3 per cent).

Due to the RBI directions, pricing has been increased for unsecured and non-banking financial company (NBFC) loans.

The SBI management guided for 14-15 per cent loan growth in FY25 though there is tight liquidity.

The Credit Deposit Ratio (CDR) is at 66 per cent and the Loan Deposit Ratio (LDR) is good at 73.9 per cent (71.3 per cent in Q2FY24) and the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) is excellent at 131 per cent.

So, there is room for higher credit growth for SBI, than for peers which have higher CDR and LDR.

The CAR (Capital Adequacy Ratio) is at 13 per cent and the Common Equity Tier (CET-1) is at 11 per cent after adjusting for RBI’s re-classification of investments, which is adequate.

The employee costs for FY24 may end up at Rs 77,300 crore (up 35 per cent Y-o-Y compared to FY23) due to the wage revision impact of an extra Rs 18,000 crore.

But costs on this front will normalise in FY25 with the guidance at Rs 66,000 crore.

The bank has also made efforts to significantly strengthen its balance sheet and has a healthy provisioning coverage on its corporate book at 92 per cent.

Assuming recovery in corporate demand, the bank could meet its 14-15 per cent credit disbursal growth target but it would be conservative to expect a slightly lower growth rate.

The bank has seen a consistent decline in its net NPA ratio to 0.6 per cent. At this level, credit costs will remain under control at 35-40 bps.

After the residual wage provisioning, cost ratios should improve in FY25 to boost profitability.

The bank has invested in digitisation and targets end-to-end digitisation.

Around 59 per cent of new savings accounts are now opening online and business worth Rs 95,000 crore is sourced through analytics (up 37 per cent Y-o-Y).

The stock has gained a net 6 per cent since the results and bullish analysts see decent upside.

Disclaimer: This article is meant for information purposes only. This article and information do not constitute a distribution, an endorsement, an investment advice, an offer to buy or sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any securities/schemes or any other financial products/investment products mentioned in this article to influence the opinion or behaviour of the investors/recipients.

Any use of the information/any investment and investment related decisions of the investors/recipients are at their sole discretion and risk. Any advice herein is made on a general basis and does not take into account the specific investment objectives of the specific person or group of persons. Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

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Devangshu Datta
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