NEWS & ADVICE : EDUCATION LOANS
Depositors need not worry: ICICI Bank has no major sub-prime exposure
By Neelima Shankar
Oct 14, 2008
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ICICI Bank chief KV Kamath reassured investors that the largest private sector bank in the country remains well capitalized and has no sub prime exposure.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services also said that the credit fundamentals of the bank continue to be sound, backed by its strong market position in the domestic banking industry, adequate financial profile, which is supported by its healthy capitalization, satisfactory loan quality, and diversification.

"We have Rs 90,000 crore investment in government securities.... As of Friday (October 10) we did not borrow from the call market... Our global subsidiaries are with USD 2.5 billion of cash," said ICICI's CEO, Kamath.

Further RBI in a report - A Profile of Banks, 2007-08 - said ICICI Bank's capital base is one of the highest among the Indian banks. Its capital adequacy ratio was 13.97% as on March 31st, 2008, as against 12.64% of SBI and 13.6% of HDFC, while the industry average was 13%.

Asked whether ICICI Bank is being targeted, Kamath said "you spread a rumour the stock reacts... Someone is trying to build a vicious circle...There is an organized attempt to spread rumour."

Explaining about the safety of depositor's money, he said, "I assure you they are safe.... We have a cash adequacy ratio of 150 per cent of the normal requirement... The bank is liquid." Clarifying further, he said, "We have a very small exposure in the US. None at all in sub-prime. We are well capitalised... And cushion to take shock is there in the balance sheet."

In a latest review Moody, a global rating agency also reaffirmed its ratings of ICICI Bank UK, with a stable outlook.

The agency said that the bank's corporate banking business is centered on providing services to Indian companies which are in UK, including M&A advice, Forex Trading business and syndicating Indian paper. It has robust asset quality ratios with no loans classified as impaired. ICICI Bank UK maintains a rather conservative investment policy and does not hold any sub-prime assets. It does not have exposure to derivatives and leveraged loans.

The mark-to-market impact in the bank's investment book is not associated with any structured or high-risk sub-prime related securities but is due to the general widening of the credit spreads due to rise in the interest rates.

The bank's stocks also climbed over 15 percent at Rs 419.50 on October 13th.


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