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Manifestations of loan growth – profitability and non-performing loans – a study of the Indian banking sector

Shweta Gupta (Department of Management Studies, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, Amethi, India)
Rohit Bansal (Department of Management Studies, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, Amethi, India)

South Asian Journal of Business Studies

ISSN: 2398-628X

Article publication date: 4 June 2024

54

Abstract

Purpose

After half a decade of balance sheet clean-up prompted by the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) asset quality review (AQR), Indian banks are back on track for increased loan growth. Being a financial vehicle for the economy, loan growth cannot be put on hold for a long period of time. But it is also important to understand that loan growth carries an inherent risk of default. A trade-off exists between loan growth, non-performing loans (NPLs) and bank profitability. Our study highlights the importance of understanding this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

For our study, we have taken a sample of India’s private and public sector banks. The dataset consists of the financials of our sample for the period 2006–2021. Two-step differenced generalized method of moments (SYS-GMM) estimation has been used to establish the relationship. The mediating role of NPLs in the relationship between loan growth and profitability is examined by the mediation analysis using structural equation modeling (SEM) and the Sobel test. We have used Stata 16.1 for the analysis of our dataset.

Findings

The findings of our study suggest that bank lending is a major contributor to the bank’s earnings. Loan growth after a certain point has a negative impact on profitability, and it also adds to the NPLs of the bank. The study result indicates that moderate loan growth is key to steady and stable growth in the Indian banking industry.

Practical implications

Our study is directed toward understanding the positive and negative manifestations of loan growth. We develop a framework to understand this relationship and then empirically prove it. The study is beneficial for employees and policymakers alike to minimize the negative impact of loan growth.

Originality/value

The issue of the simultaneous impact of loan growth on NPLs and profitability has not been studied in the Indian banking sector. Also, this study adds to the present literature by studying the mediation effect of the NPLs on the loan growth and profitability relationship.

Keywords

Citation

Gupta, S. and Bansal, R. (2024), "Manifestations of loan growth – profitability and non-performing loans – a study of the Indian banking sector", South Asian Journal of Business Studies, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAJBS-04-2023-0100

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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