Shipping sect push won’t get banks out: Arundhati Bhattacharya
The ongoing thrust on the shipping sector will not help lenders with a revival in the asset quality, but can be of benefit over a longer period, State Bank of India chief Arundhati Bhattacharya on Thursday said. “Asset quality issues are issues of the past. They are legacy issues. Whether they will turnaround immediately, I don’t really think so, not in the shipping sector at least,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the maiden ‘Maritime Summit’ here. The head of the country’s largest bank, however, welcomed the ongoing efforts to provide fillip to the sector, saying from a longer-term horizon, things will be better for lenders. “There are projects being thought of, which will ameliorate some of the interest that we are seeing and definitely, going forward, we believe things will be better.” It can be said that the shipping sector, especially the shipbuilding yards, has been a pain point for banks with loans of thousands of crores either restructured or classified as bad debts. Some shipbuilders in the private sector have gone belly up and been taken over by banks. Earlier, speaking at a CEOs’ roundtable, she said even though the government has given the infrastructure status to shipbuilding, the RBI is yet to come out with its views.