Mumbai: The second largest private sector lender HDFC Bank has said the present situation is not conducive for rate cuts but further reduction in Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) could lead to lower interest rates.
"As far as reduction in interest rate is concerned, if there is more CRR cuts, it will happen. Because, given the inflationary environment, we can't reduce the deposit. Also, the call rates are high due to shortage of liquidity,"
managing director and chief executive Aditya Puri said.
He also said if the RBI cuts the cash reserve ratio by another 1 percentage point in next one month, banks will start slashing their base rates. "In my opinion, if the RBI cuts CRR by 100 bps...the banking system on its own will reduce interest rates. So, CRR is more important at this point of time than policy rate cuts."
On March 10, Reserve Bank had reduced CRR, the amount of deposits banks mandatoily keep with the central bank, by an unexpectedly high 0.75 percentage point. In the January policy too, the central bank had cut the ratio by 0.50 percentage point.
RBI had left the key policy rate unchanged on both the occasions.
Puri said if oil prices had not risen, then we might have already seen a rate cut.
"Naturally, the inflation numbers, which depend on oil prices to a large degree, will be the guiding factor for a policy rate cut," Puri said.
He also said NPA is not a matter of concern for his bank, with no or minimal exposure to sectors like power, aviation and telecom.
"We are not in the non-performing sectors.. we are not exposed to the airlines sector, we are not exposed to the power sector, especially to projects where coal supply is not assured. Even, our exposure to telecom comprises only those
companies which had got licence before 2008."
About net interest margin (NIM), he said it will remain in the current range in the near future. HDFC Bank, which had a net interest margin of 4.1 percent in the third quarter, posted a 31.2 percent rise in its net income at Rs 1,429 crore against Rs 1,090 crore year ago.