Davos WEF 2022 | Axis Bank CEO Says Rate Hikes To Build Stress But Not Cause Large NPAs

Amitabh Chaudhry: We are investing across all our businesses–on the retail side, credit cards, merchant acquisition, retail assets. Bharat Banking is a big initiative for us. We hired a very senior resource. I told you about the SME side which we are investing in. We are investing in mid-corporate.

In technology, our spend has gone up, it has doubled over the last three years. So, the spend, the demands on expenses given the opportunity out there is huge. It’s a question of what you parcel out and where you focus on. So, in that sense, it is all about growth, it is all about technology and scaling of our infrastructure, it is all about digital banking. But the revenue and the profitability impact of it will take some more time to come, and that’s all there is to it.

We do believe our platform is great, it is moving in the right direction. More than 60% of our spend is revenue-linked. The balance of it is obviously technology where we are scaling our infrastructure as we are growing.

It is also partly linked to collections because during the Covid crisis, we ended up spending much more on collections than what we had anticipated. So, our collection costs have gone up.

Given some of the conservative policies which we have imposed on ourselves, sometimes the recovery which you are getting from a customer, you are not getting it through the net interest line, you are getting it through the provision line.

It is just a question of how you are stating some of the numbers. It is what it is. Frankly, if you look at last quarter numbers, which a lot of people have missed out on, if you take out the one-off items on a consolidated basis, our return on equity for the bank was 18% plus which was higher than a lot of other peer banks. So, we have touched 18%.

I know last quarter is the best part of the financial year. But we have demonstrated to the market that we can get there. So, we are on the right track, headed in the right direction. Execution remains the key and this is what we are focused on.

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