Finance minister asks banks to cut interest rates

June 10th, 2009 - 2:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday pushed for commercial banks to cut interest rates, saying the measures announced by the central bank to ease their burden were not getting adequately reflected.
“Between September 2008 and April 2009, RBI reduced the key policy rates and also reduced the CRR (cash reserve ratio) and SLR (statutory liquidity ratio) requirements for banks,” Mukherjee told heads of public sector banks here.

“Today we are looking at our economy with a lot of hope. The last quarter GDP growth figure of 5.8 percent and the annual growth of around 6.7 percent for 2008-09, is a pointer towards this direction,” he added.

Asking the bankers to address credit concerns expeditiously, the finance minister noted that the prime lending rates have come down to the range of 12-12.25 percent as against 13.75-14.25 percent six months back. “I hope that the impact of various pro-growth measures would help to turn around the economy soon,” he added.

On the issue of merger of state-owned banks, Mukherjee said his government has always maintained that the initiatives for consolidation in the banking sector have to come from the banks themselves and that the government would only play a supportive role as a common shareholder.

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