In the financial year ending in March 2023, the cumulative profit of public sector banks surpassed Rs 1 lakh crore, with the State Bank of India (SBI) leading the market and contributing to nearly half of the total earnings.
From posting a total net loss of Rs 85,390 crore in 2017-18, the Public Sector Banks (PSBs) have come a long way as their profit touched Rs 1,04,649 crore in 2022-23, according to an analysis of their financial results.
These 12 PSBs witnessed 57 per cent increase in total profit compared to Rs 66,539.98 crore earned in 2021-22.
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In percentage terms Pune-based Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) had the highest net profit growth with 126 per cent to Rs 2,602 crore, followed by UCO with 100 per cent rise to Rs 1,862 crore and Bank of Baroda with 94 per cent increase to Rs 14,110 crore.
However, in absolute term, SBI has reported an annual profit of Rs 50,232 crore in 2022-23, showing an increase of 59 per cent over the preceding financial year.
Except for the Punjab National Bank (PNB), other PSBs have reported impressive annual increases in their profit after tax.
Delhi-headquartered PNB posted a 27 per cent decline in annual net profit from Rs 3,457 crore in 2021-22 to Rs 2,507 crore in the year ended March 2023.
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The PSBs which reported an annual profit in excess of Rs 10,000 crore are Bank of Baroda (Rs 14,110 crore) and Canara Bank (Rs 10,604 crore).
Other lenders like Punjab and Sind Bank posted an annual profit growth 26 per cent (Rs 1,313 crore), Central Bank of India 51 per cent (Rs 1,582 crore), Indian Overseas Bank 23 per cent (Rs 2,099 crore), Bank of India 18 per cent (Rs 4,023 crore), Indian Bank 34 per cent (Rs 5,282 crore) and Union Bank of India 61 per cent (Rs 8,433 crore).
PSB is a turnaround story from record losses to record profit. The doom-to-bloom story of the public sector banking industry can be attributed to the initiatives and spate of reforms undertaken by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with former finance minister Arun Jaitley and financial services secretary Rajiv Kumar and his successors.
The government has implemented a comprehensive 4R strategy: Recognising NPAs transparently, Resolution and recovery, Recapitalising PSBs, and Reforms in the financial ecosystem.
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As part of the strategy, the government infused an unprecedented Rs 3,10,997 crore to recapitalise PSBs during the last five financial years — from 2016-17 to 2020-21. The recapitalisation programme provided much-needed support to the PSBs and prevented the possibility of any default on their part.
The reforms undertaken by the government over the last eight years addressed credit discipline, ensured responsible lending and improved governance. Besides, there was adoption of technology, amalgamation of banks, and general confidence of bankers was maintained.
In the latest March quarter or the fourth quarter of 2022-23, the PSBs profit cumulatively increased more than 95 per cent to Rs 34,483 crore. In the year-ago period, the same was at Rs 17,666 crore.
Analysts said that higher interest income and improvement in management of non-performing assets or bad loans are among the key reasons for the improved profitability of the banks.
(With agency inputs)