ICICI Bank to focus on leveraging technology: Kochhar

As it looks to further enhance its return on equity, ICICI Bank will focus on leveraging technology to deliver innovative banking solutions and on capitalising growth opportunities as the economy grows, Chief Chanda Kochhar has said.

She also said that the bank’s focus on improving the core operating parameters has helped it absorb the higher credit costs.

“Despite the higher credit costs, we were able to achieve an improvement of 10 basis points in the return on assets to 1.86 per cent (in last fiscal ended March 31, 2015) compared to 1.76 per cent in fiscal 2014,” Kochhar said.

“At the ICICI Group, we will continue to focus on leveraging technology to deliver innovative and convenient banking solutions, capitalising on the growth opportunities that will arise as the economy grows, and sustaining our operating parameters as we grow, to further enhance our return on equity,” she said.

Addressing the shareholders in her annual letter, the bank’s Managing Director and CEO said that the economy entered a new phase with several policy initiatives and positive trends in a number of macroeconomic indicators, but the corporate and SME sectors continued to experience challenges given the prolonged slowdown and gradual pace of recovery during the last fiscal.

This resulted “in continued additions to non—performing and restructured loans for the banking sector. Against this backdrop, we continued our calibrated approach to lending in these segments and maintained our approach of balancing growth, profitability and risk management,” she said.

Kochhar said that the formation of a stable government with a strong mandate had a major positive impact on sentiment and the medium—to—long term economic outlook last year.

Elaborating on the bank’s performance in the last fiscal, she said the bank focused on continued strong growth in the retail portfolio, maintaining a robust funding profile, and further improving our key operating parameters —— including margins and operating efficiency.

“Our non—banking businesses also achieved healthy growth and we continued to maintain a very strong capital position”, she added

The bank’s retail advances portfolio grew by 25 per cent year—on—year, while it mobilised about Rs 22,000 crore of current and savings account (CASA) deposits in fiscal 2015.

The CASA ratio improved from 42.9 per cent at March 31, 2014 to 45.5 per cent at March 31, 2015.

The bank’s standalone profit after tax crossed the Rs 10,000 crore mark for the first time, while its consolidated profit after tax grew to Rs 12,247 crore and the consolidated return on equity was 15 per cent, she said.

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