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UCO Bank launches loan center for SMEs    
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Source: Business Standard



Public sector lender UCO Bank has launched its small and medium enterprises (SME) loan hub in Bangalore in its bid to increase lending to the sector.

“The bank has been a pioneer in deploying credit for priority sector and has been aggressively lending to MSME sector. We attach great importance towards lending to SME sector as it is the largest employment generating sector after agriculture in India,” Arun Kaul, chairman and managing director of UCO Bank, said here.

These centres will cater to the credit requirement ranging from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 25 crore of the entrepreneurs, he added.

SME loan processing centres help in fast processing of loan applications of these enterprises. The processing time for disbursal of loans is around 21 days from the date of application.

“We are setting up SME processing centres to concentrate on lending to the broad based SME category,” he said.

UCO Bank plans to open 37 SME hubs across the country in the present financial year to facilitate single window clearance for loans.

The bank has already opened two hubs — Delhi and Mumbai — for disbursing loans to SMEs.

It aims to open another 26 hubs in the various cities of the country including Delhi, Coimbatore, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Vellore, Surat, Ernakulam and Mumbai among others. UCO Bank has over 2,200 branches, with most of them located in rural and semi-urban centres.

It has a total business of Rs 2,45,000 crore as of now and has achieved a 20 per cent credit growth in last financial year. The public sector lender posted 41 per cent decline in its net profit to Rs 225.9 crore for the fourth quarter-ending March, 2011 on the back of higher provisioning for bad assets and retirement benefits. However, the total income of the bank rose by 25 per cent to Rs 3,360 crore during January-March period as compared to Rs 2,690 crore reported in the same period last year.

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