State Bank of India (SBI) will try to keep interest rates benign for as long as possible with a view to supporting economic growth, said Dinesh Kumar Khara, chairman at State Bank of India.
He added that as the lockdown was not pan-India, one will have to wait and watch to assess its impact on the banking sector.
"The impact of lockdown differ from state to state as it is not uniform, so, probably we can wait and watch for some more time before making any comment on the impact on the economy and NPA situation," Khara said in an interview with PTI. He further said that it is too early to give any colour to the likely scenario of NPAs because of local restrictions.
He also informed that SBI has decided to set up makeshift hospitals with ICU facilities for COVID-19 patients in some of the worst affected states. The bank has already earmarked Rs 30 crore and is engaging with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and hospital management to set up medical facilities on an emergency basis for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The country's largest lender is also collaborating with hospitals and NGOs to provide oxygen concentrators for patients and intends to put in place 1,000 beds with 50 ICU facilities in the states that are the worst affected.
"We have earmarked Rs 70 crore plus out of which we are giving Rs 21 crore to 17 circles for COVID-19 related initiatives. For the safety of employees and their families, he said, the bank has tied up with hospitals across the country to facilitate the treatment of those who have fallen sick on a priority basis," he said.
"About 70,000 employees out of 2.5 lakh strong staff strength have already been vaccinated. The bank has decided to bear the cost of vaccination for its employees and their dependent family members," Khara added.