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FirstRand to change focus

FirstRand Bank-India will focus on lending to individuals in the country and it hoped that a revival in the local economy will help it wipe out the losses it had suffered in the past five years. Chief hief executive and country manager of the bank Rohit Wahi said the bank’s loss in India widened to Rs 77 crore in fiscal 2013-14 from Rs 59 crore in the previous year, as grossNPAs increased to 15% of its loan book in the year ended March 2014 because many loans given to medium-sized companies turned bad. The bank shrunk its loan book to Rs 199 crore in fiscal 2013-14 from Rs 259 crore in 2012-13, but will increase its balance sheet this year as it expects economic growth to accelerate, he added. The bank had infused $21 million (around Rs 126 crore) into its Indian business in anticipation of higher losses. So far, the bank has invested more than $100 million in India.

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