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An Axis Bank cashier works at a makeshift ATM counter on the first day of a three day 'Dawat E-Islami Ijtema' religious event at Gibpura village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on December 2, 2016.SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images

Axis Bank, India's third-largest private sector lender, recently released its annual report for the financial year 2016-17 and said that the 23rd annual general meeting of the bank will be held on July 26 at Ahmedabad Management Association, Ahmedabad.

In the news mostly for the wrong reasons after demonetisation, the banks has identified six core areas, especially retail and SME lending, and debt recoveries, to focus on this fiscal.

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The bank's Q4 performance was among the weakest when compared to the other two larger private sector lenders, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank. For 2016-17, net profit fell 55.2 percent to Rs 3,679 crore from Rs 8,224 crore in 2015-16. The bank declared a dividend of Rs 5 per equity share, same as last year. The share price closed at Rs 507 on Tuesday (July 3), down from Rs 544 a year ago.

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Here are the key takeaways of the annual report:

  • The bank will be focussing on retail and SME lending, apart from focussing on recovering bad loans while growing corporate loans in 2017-18.
  • Spending by the bank's credit card users rose 47 percent during 2016-17 to Rs 28,585 crore from Rs 19,432 crore in the preceding fiscal. As of March 31, 2017, the bank had 33 lakh credit cards.
  • In the point-of-sales (PoS) terminal business, the bank consolidated its presence with an installed base of 4.33 lakh PoS.
  • Retail lending rose 21 percent during 2016-17 to Rs 167,993 crore as of March 31, 2017, of which secured loans accounted for 85 percent, while home loans contributed 44 percent of all secured loans in the retail lending space. 
  • Corporate lending was a dampener, with net corporate loans growing at a negligible 0.33 percent during the year to Rs 1,55,904 crore. "Major sectors like power, metals and engineering that are key contributors to any country's infrastructure and capacity build up, reported weak credit demand. The problems of past few years like excess capacities, lower utilisations due to lower industrial activity and high leverage continued to impact the demand for bank credit in these key sectors." 
  • Overall, advances rose 10 percent to Rs 373,069 crore, while deposits grew 15.7 percent to Rs 414,379 crore, mainly due to the deposit surge after demonetisation in November last year. "(Post demonetisation), savings Bank deposits on a daily average basis, increased by 24.18 percent to Rs 102,879 crore while current account deposits spurted 21.5 percent to 48,800 crore," according to the report.
  • The watch list, identified as loans to be a key source of stress over the next two years, dropped to Rs 11,232 crore as of March 31, 2017 from Rs 25,254 crore a year ago.
  • Net NPAs as a percentage of total advances rose to 2.11 percent as of March 31, 2017 from 0.70 as of March 31,2016. In absolute terms, net NPAs stood at Rs 8,627 crore.