Canara Bank chairman wants asset quality to improve further

State-run lender Canara Bank expects asset quality to improve by 20-30 basis points by March as it focuses on aggressive debt collections and better monitoring of performing accounts, a top official said.

The No. 5 ranked state bank expects new bad loans to fall to about 13 billion rupees in the December quarter from 28 billion rupees in June, Chairman and Managing Director RK Dubey told Reuters.

It will recover and upgrade loan accounts of 40-50 billion rupees in the period, he added.

"I want to slowly improve the bank's asset quality. Even if I reduce it by 10 to 15 basis points by December I will still be against the market trend," Dubey said over the phone from Bangalore where he is based.

For the quarter-ended September, Canara Bank's net profit was mostly flat compared with a year earlier. Non-performing loans improved to 2.64 percent from 2.91 percent in the preceding quarter.

The bank, which is growing its loans by about 30 percent, plans to raise 25 billion rupees through Tier-II bonds by March to shore up its capital base, Dubey said.

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