COVID takes a toll on bank deposits in Goa

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SHOMA PATNAIK | NT 

Panaji

The coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on bank deposits in the state, as   many Goans are feeling the pinch in the light of the economic slowdown in the country and across the world.  

Latest figures on deposits of all banks in Goa during the quarter ended September 2020 have revealed marginal growth of 0.6 per cent in deposits from Rs 84,700 crore in June to Rs 85,235.6 crore as on September 30 2020.

The lackluster trend has been on since March 2020 as public, private sector as well as cooperative banks reported slow accumulation in the savings accounts of customers. 

Speaking on slowdown in deposits on Monday, bankers said that pandemic has forced residents to break the nest egg.  

“Due to loss of jobs and income, the increase in deposit has been negligible in the first half of the current year 2019-20,” explained a senior banker.

A large number of Goans work abroad, and hence historically Goa has been seen as a deposit-rich state: there has been healthy deposit growth throughout the year.

However, the slowdown is contrary to the national trend where deposits in peak pandemic months expanded by five per cent from Rs 6.8 trillion in March 2020 to Rs 142.5 trillion in end-September 2020, according to reports.

The state-level bankers committee meeting was held last week where banks disclosed their performance.

The meeting revealed that deposits in Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana accounts came down in the quarter, as residents with limited means withdrew heavily from their saving accounts.

According to the SLBC, banks fared relatively better on the loan front with total advances at Rs 27,609 crore as on September 2020, up from Rs 24,040 crore in the previous quarter.

The credit-deposit ratio as on September was 32.4 per cent compared to 28 per cent in the June quarter.

At the meeting, banks were asked to step up priority sector lending under various government schemes.

Bankers were told to go to the people, handhold them and offer all the services which they would have offered in normal times.

The SLBC convenor asked banks to lend more under the Prime Minster Mudra Yojana and focus on small and marginal borrowers. 

The SLBC meeting was held virtually. Bankers said that they found it difficult to conduct financial literacy camps due to adverse conditions on account of the pandemic.