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BW Businessworld

Strength To Strength

Axis Bank successfully raised Rs 12,500 crore through one of the largest ever QIP issued by any pri‑ vate sector entity. This

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Axis Bank hasit all — scale, stature, presence, prod‑ ucts and technology. But above all, it is an institution that is warm, friendly, empathetic and accessible to customers and all other stakeholders.

Scrupulously following its philosophy of ‘open’ since the past 26 years, Axis Bank has yet again made its way to our BW 500 list by organising itself on every front, internally and externally. Ever open to ideas, suggestions and even criticism, the company has always welcomed newer ways of working, technologies, and approaches, which will shape the future of financial services.

Being the third largest private sector bank in India, it has a large domestic footprint by virtue of more than 4,528 branches. The bank did quite well in the previous year registering a 15 per cent increase in its total income to Rs 78,172 crore.

The profits too grew 15 per cent, touching Rs 1,627 crore. As on March 31, 2020, Axis Bank had issued 7 million credit cards, and 24.5 million debit cards. It has also seeded over 5.2 lakh Point of Sale or PoS machines at mer‑ chant establishments.

Amitabh Chaudhary, CEO & MD said, “As the economy continues to combat the unprecedented uncertainty caused by the Covid‑19 pandemic out‑ break since the start of this calendar year, we have lived up to our promise to the nation of being a responsible citizen, being ‘open’ to address the needs of our customers, employees and communi‑ ties.”

In fiscal 2020, Axis Bank successfully raised Rs 12,500 crore through one of the largest ever QIP issued by any pri‑ vate sector entity. This strengthened the bank’s capital ratios, with total adequacy of 17.53 per cent and CET1 ratio of 13.34 per cent. The operating profitability in fiscal year 2020 continued to remain steady with a 16 per cent growth in net interest income and a 23 per cent growth in operating profits.

The bank’s net NPA, plus BB & below book, declined substantially to 2.7 per cent from 3.4 per cent at the end of the last fiscal. The provision coverage (without considering write offs) increased to 69 per cent from 62 per cent at the start of the year. The bank now holds additional provisions aggregating Rs 5,983 crore towards various contingencies which are not included in the aforementioned provision coverage.

The bank must also be credited for being agile and responsive to the ever changing situation. It has proac‑ tively strengthened its operational and technological infrastructure to ensure continuity of normal opera‑ tions. During the lockdown phase, more than 96 per cent of their ATMs and 99 per cent of their branches were functional. They implemented a large‑scale ‘work from home’ man‑ date with more than 9,000 VPN and VDI connections provided to ensure business continuity, and almost 100 per cent of the critical activities were capable of being executed by working from home. During this time, they also reached out to almost 3,00,000 customers on a daily basis.

Many of the initia‑ tives that it imple‑ mented during the year under the bank’s GPS strategy allowed it to be in a better po‑ sition. Their teams have deliberat ed, created and executed new strategies so as to be better prepared when normalcy re‑ turns. In fiscal year 2020, it also contin‑ ued to invest in each of the core pillars of its franchise ‑‑ people, products and technology.

During the year, they completed the organisational restructuring and strengthened their teams to bring in greater business focus and drive performance and efficiency. They carved out the credit underwriting functions that resided within the business segments to enhance gov‑ ernance and further strengthen the risk framework in the bank.