State Bank of IndiaBSE -0.82 % is open to other banks joining its recently formed Rs 7,000 crore stressed asset fund with Brookfield Asset Management, Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said. “We will be definitely putting it up to them (other banks) as well. But we want to do one or two deals first and ensure that people have the confidence. We are more than open for other banks to join,Bhattacharya said. But it may take time for other banks to join as they will have to first go to their individual boards with the proposal, she said. Bhattacharya, who was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of its wealth management services named SBI Exclusif, said a lot of interest is coming in from people who believe this is the right time to buy.”There are a lot of funds who see value before the economy picks up. People are realising that there is value over there and they better grab it now before the economy starts firing on all cylinders.”
SBI Exclusif will target the fastgrowing affluent segment in the country for wealth management, which will come initially free of cost. On the issue of the merger of SBI’s associate banks and the Bhartiya Mahila Bank, she said the process should be complete by next March.
“People have to understand that the change is inevitable. There have been strikes at many occasions but we have to educate them and take them on board,” she said, responding to a question on a strike called by bank unions to oppose the merger plan.
On resolution of bad loan issues through the recently formed Banks Board Bureau (BBB), Bhattacharya said it may start only when banks look at accounts under Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets’ (S4A), the central bank rule that allows lenders to take equity in debt-laden firms. She said the bank has given some suggestions to the Reserve Bank of India on the S4A scheme. Cash flow and interest rates rules under S4A could be reviewed, she said.