Reportedly two top Indian private sector lenders on tuesday signaled stress in their loan books as the banks grapple with the worst economic slowdown in years that has increased bad loans across the sector. Kotak Mahindra bank Ltd, the nation's third largest lender by market value, trimmed its full-year loan growth forecast, while the sixth-biggest bank Axis bank Ltd said its small business and small and medium enterprises categories have come under pressure due to delayed payments.
"We have enough capital, but we are seeing the economic environment go down rather than up," Axis bank Chief Executive Officer amitabh Chaudhry told reporters at a news conference. Indian banks, already saddled with nearly $150 billion in bad loans, are struggling to grow their lending activity as a slowdown in domestic consumption weighs on demand for credit.
The country's economy expanded at just 5% in April-June, while credit growth at Indian banks dropped to the lowest level in nearly two years at end-September. Kotak now expects credit growth for the year ending March above "mid-teen" percentage digits, joint Managing Director Dipak Gupta said at a news conference in Mumbai. The bank had earlier forecast growth of 20%.