NEW DELHI: ICICI Bank Ltd posted a 78% jump in profit in the first quarter, helped by strong net interest earnings and lower bad loan buffers amid the recent deadly coronavirus wave.
Net income at India’s second-largest private lender stood at 46.16 billion rupees (US$620mil or RM2.62bil) in the three months to June, compared with 25.99 billion rupees (RM1.48bil) a year ago, according to a statement.
That beat an average estimate of 43.37 billion rupees (RM2.46bil) by 10 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
ICICI Bank’s asset quality risk is less than its peers given the lender’s large exposure to the secured mortgage and vehicle business as part of its total loan book.
The bank has been growing its so-called safer retail loans at double the pace of its corporate book as a recent coronavirus wave caused a cash crunch among businesses following localised lockdowns in April and May.
“We are very comfortable with our growth,” Sandeep Batra, executive director of the bank told reporters on a conference call after results.
“It’s important to look at the quality of the books we have built over the last couple years.”
The Mumbai-based bank’s gross bad loan ratio widened to 5.15% at the end of June from 4.96% three months prior.
It set aside 28.52 billion rupees (RM1.62bil) toward provisioning during the first quarter compared with 28.83 billion rupees (RM1.64bil) three months ago and 75.94 billion rupees (RM4.31bil) a year ago.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended a one-time debt restructuring facility until September.
This will allow lenders to extend repayment lengths on stressed loans without having to classify them as non-performing.
The relaxation will mask the true extent of soured loans in the banking system which the RBI forecasts to rise to 9.80% by March 2022 from 7.48% a year ago.
ICICI has also been able to accelerate its credit card portfolio, benefitting from the absence of market leader HDFC Bank, which has been banned by the RBI from issuing new cards. ― Bloomberg