Chennai: In order to meet the manpower needs of an expanding branch network, public sector Bank of Baroda plans to hire some 22,000 employees over the next four years, said a top official.

"Over the next three-four years, we will be hiring around 5,500 new employees every year," M.D. Mallya, the chairman and managing director, told reporters here Monday.

He was here to inaugurate the bank's new zonal office for Tamil Nadu and Kerala regions besides a branch in the city suburbs and six automatic teller machine (ATM) centres.

According to Mallya, the bank's hiring plans will take care of the large number of employees retiring in a couple of years.

Mallya said around 3,500 employees will be retiring every year for next couple of years.

The bank also absorbs successful students from Baroda Manipal School of Banking. At the end of last fiscal, the bank had 41,447 employees.

With a distribution network of around 4,000 branches and 2,000 ATM centres, Bank of Baroda plans to open 500 more branches in India and abroad and ATM centres by the end of this fiscal, Mallya said.

The bank will open one branch in Kenya and Uganda and two in Dubai. "We have a licence to open a branch in Sydney. We will open the Sydney branch shortly," Mallya said.

With the new overseas branch openings, Bank of Baroda will be taking the number of foreign branches to over 100.

According to Mallya, 28 percent of the bank's total business (deposits and advances) and 26 percent of the profit are contributed by the overseas operations.

Queried about the credit growth given the downturn in economy and the release of additional funds for lending after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut the credit reserve ratio (CRR), Mallya said: "Going by the past trends we will grow our business by 20 percent this year.

"According to RBI, the banking sector is expected to grow by 17 percent this year. But Bank of Baroda will outgrow the industry's average growth, Mallya said.

On the risk of higher delinquencies of loan accounts due to the economic downturn, Mallya said the quality of assets depends on the economic situation.

"Our loan account delinquencies are much better than that of peer banks. Our loan account delinquency rate is around 1.4 percent of the total advances," he said.

He said during the first quarter of the current year, the bank had restructured its loan book worth Rs.780 crore.

"There is no single sector to which we have a major exposure. We have no major exposure in coal mining companies," he said.

On the issue of pressure on margins, he said the bank will maintain its net interest margin in the 3.4-3.5 percent band.


Latest News from Business News Desk