Bandhan Bank to roll out credit cards by end of FY24, says MD Chandra Shekhar Ghosh

Bandhan Bank managing director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh in an exclusive interview with BT TV shared his vision for the digital payments sector and said that it may launch its much-awaited credit card by March 2024.

“As per customer demand, we have been introducing new products time to time. We haven’t ventured into credit cards yet. Hopefully, we will do it by end of this financial year,” Ghosh told BT TV.

The Kolkata-based private bank launched a co-branded credit card in association with Standard Chartered bank in 2019, which was offered to 40 lakh savings bank account holders across the 1,000 branches.

Bandhan Bank offered three variants of co-branded credit cards called One for the mass market, Plus for the affluent segment and Xclusive for the premium segment.

The bank also launched its ‘INSPIRE’ programme for senior citizens, catering to their diverse banking needs, from preferential interest rates and priority banking to doorstep facilities.

A specially designed INSPIRE membership card will allow senior citizens to access healthcare benefits, enhanced banking services and special interest rates on fixed deposits (FD). This all-in-one product is packed with multiple benefits to help seniors retire with confidence.

Sujoy Roy, the head of branch banking at Bandhan Bank, said the programme offers a “comprehensive bouquet of benefits, meticulously designed for senior citizens”.

Earlier this week, the board of directors of Bandhan Bank on December 21 approved the transfer of non-performing loans (bad loans) amounting to Rs 776 crore to an asset reconstruction company (ARC). In a regulatory filing, the bank said it is trying to offload the loans to the asset reconstruction company through Swiss challenge bidding process.

“The board of directors of the bank has, on December 21, 2023, approved the proposal to transfer the bank’s housing finance NPA portfolio, having Days Past Due of more than 180 days, with an outstanding of Rs 775.62 crore (as on September 30, 2023), to asset reconstruction company,” the bank said in the stock exchange filing.

“The bank has received a binding bid of Rs 280.39 crore (i.e., 36.15 per cent of the outstanding pool) for the said NPA portfolio, on outright cash consideration basis. The bank is going for bidding as per the Swiss Challenge method and the decision of sale shall be taken as per the extant guidelines governing the Swiss Challenge method and the relevant policy of the bank,” the filing said.

In a recent credit ratings report, Crisil said that the bank’s gross and net non-performing assets increased to 7.3 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively, as on September 30, 2023, from 4.9 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively as on March 31, 2023.

The bank’s gross non-performing asset (GNPA) in the July-September quarter increased by 14.8 per cent YoY. Its gross NPA was at Rs 7,874 crore crore in the July-September quarter, as compared to Rs 6,854 crore in a year ago period. In the previous quarter, gross NPA stood at Rs 6,961 crore.

Its net NPA ratio was at 40 per cent YoY in July-September. The net NPA in the reporting quarter was at Rs 2,366 crore, as against Rs 1,679 crore in a similar period last year.

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