Bank of India's (BOI) net loss widened to Rs 3,969 crore during the quarter ended March 31, 2018, as provisioning for bad debts and treasury losses ate into the bank's earnings.

Special Correspondent

The lender had reported a loss of Rs 1,046 crore in the year-ago period as non-performing assets (NPAs) had continued to mount.

The bank's asset quality worsened as on March 31, 2018. Thegross NPAs hit 16.58% of its gross advances, higher than 13.22% reported at the end of March 2017. In absolute terms, the gross NPAs or the bad loans reached Rs 62,328.46 crore as on March 31, 2018, sharply up from Rs 52,044.52 crore a year ago.

Net NPAs stood at Rs 28,207.27 crore as compared to Rs 25,305.05 crore in the corresponding quarter of last fiscal. Income in the March quarter of 2017-18 also fell to Rs 10,722.07 crore from Rs 12,335.71 crore a year ago.

It was the corporate loans, especially from the infrastructure sector, that continued to haunt the bank, forcing the lender to trim its corporate book. About 52% of the bank's advances are corporate loans which it wants to trim to 40% of its advances.

"Recovery is the USP of this quarter. We are the only bank to reduce both gross and net NPAs," said Dinabandhu Mohapatra, MD and CEO of Bank of India, at a media conference. The bank made a strong growth in bad loan recoveries to the tune of over Rs 11,000 crore. It expects another Rs 500 crore of recoveries in the first quarter which will end on June 30, 2018.

Bank of India (BOI) managed to recover the entire money in the Rs 137 crore pay-order scam involving scam-tainted Ketan Parekh's group companies and Ahmedabad-based Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank(MMCB) Ltd during the quarter.

Provisions for bad loans for January-March, 2017-18, climbed to Rs 6,699.23 crore from Rs 4,483.53 crore in a year ago.

Bank of India said in a statement, "Due to non-availability of profit, no dividend is proposed". The stock of the bank closed 4.71 % higher at Rs 107.85 on BSE on Monday.

Net interest income or NII (the difference between interest earned and paid) fell 26% to Rs 2,563.85 crore from Rs 3,469 crore in the year-ago period. Other income declined 21.5% to Rs 1,375.23 crore in Q4 from Rs 1,754 crore in Q4 FY17. It was projected to fall by 67% to Rs 1,052 crore.

The net interest margin of the bank including its global operations has come down from 2.39% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016-17 to 1.65% in Q4 FY2018 on account of lower yield and increase in NPAs. The bank is targeting a credit growth of 8-10% and further bringing down its non-performing loans by stepping up on recoveries.