Is Central Bank Planning To Close 600 Branches Across India? What We Know So Far


Central Bank of India has reported its total number of branches at 4,528 at the end of March 2022, which is the same compared to the December 2021 quarter. The bank is reportedly looking to reduce the number of branches by 600, or 13 per cent of the total, by either shutting or merging loss-making branches by the end of March 2023.

The total number of branches at the end of the March 2022 quarter stood at 4,528, according to BSE filing on Monday. The state-owned lender, however, has said it is yet to decide on the number of branches to be shut in the current financial year (FY23). It has slashed its tally of branches by 186 between April 2017 and December 2021.

The bank is in the Reserve Bank of Indiaโ€™s PCA (prompt corrective action) regime due to its high net NPA and a negative return on assets, since June 2017.

โ€œIt is reported in press/ media regarding closure of branches by Central Bank of India. We hereby inform that there is no decision as of now to close a large number of branches during FY 2022-23,” the lender has said in the statement on Saturday.

Central Bank of India, however, said it is a routine exercise for every bank to re-align/shift/merge/close/open branches on regular basis to achieve corporate business objectives. โ€œWe assure our esteemed customers and all other stakeholders that their interest is well protected.”

At the end of the financial year, the bank reviews branch functioning โ€“ viability and contribution to top-line and bottom-line. Bank has asked field functionaries to give an assessment of branches and take a decision only after a detailed study, according to a PTI report quoting a senior bank executive.

The bank has posted a net profit of Rs 310 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2022 on improved net interest income (NII) and fall in provisions. It had posted a net loss of Rs 1,349 crore in the quarter ended March 2021. For FY22, the Mumbai-based lenderโ€™s net profit stood at Rs 1,045 crore against a loss of Rs 888 crore for FY21.

M V Rao, managing director and chief executive of the bank, said the lender is complying with the PCA parameters and will submit audited results to the RBI. It will also make a request to the RBI to move out of the PCA regime.

The bankโ€™s NII during the March 2022 quarter jumped 59.43 per cent to Rs 2,417 crore, against Rs 1,516 crore a year ago.

Provisions fell by 42.09 per cent to Rs 1,150 crore in Q4 of FY22 from Rs 1,986 crore in Q4 of FY21. Provision coverage ratio (PCR) improved from 82.54 per cent to 86.69 per cent.

Its asset quality improved with a decline in gross non-performing assets (gross NPAs) to 14.84 per cent in March 2022 from 16.55 per cent a year ago. Net NPAs stood at 3.97 per cent in March 2022, down from 5.77 per cent a year ago.

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