The country’s largest lender SBI said on Tuesday that small business loans will be a “focal point” for growth and profitability for the next five years.

The state-run lender has launched a product called “SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) Digital Business Loan”, under which loans will be approved in 45 minutes.

“Growth of MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) has been identified as a focal point for the bank’s growth and profitability over the next five years,” an official statement said.

The bank plans to expand access to credit for small businesses in the coming months by increasing availability at all partner customer service point touch points and outdoor touch points through QR codes, the statement said.

For the year ending March 31, 2024, the bank’s overall SME book grew by over 20 percent. 4.33 lakh crore in the book and gross non-performing assets declined to 3.75% from a peak of 9.43% in FY20.

The newly launched product was billed as “a significant leap forward” in digitization offering SMEs a digital loan journey with time in exchange for an end-to-end approval of up to 45 minutes.

Bank Chairman Dinesh Khara said, “By leveraging the rich data footprint of MSME units in the ecosystem, we aim to provide the fastest and most intuitive lending process, leading MSMEs in the country. to further consolidate its position as a lender,” said Dinesh Khara, chairman of the bank.

The newly launched proposition eliminates the need for traditional credit underwriting and lengthy appraisal processes, the bank said in a statement, adding that it provides simplicity, speed and accessibility to MSME lending.

The new platform relies on data footprints from sources like ITR, GST returns and bank statements, the statement said, adding that the bank developed a data-driven credit assessment engine. is capable of providing approval decisions within 10 seconds of submitting required details. .

For loans up to 50 lakhs, SBI has waived the requirement of financial statements relying on GST returns for transaction history and valuation.

SBI Managing Director for Retail Banking and Operations Vinay Tunis said the bank is offering a unique proposition for both new and existing MSME ties, ensuring in-principle approval within 45 minutes.

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