SBI Cards and Payments Services has said that customers continued using their credit cards during lockdown and due to the unique nature of business the average daily spends were in upwards of Rs 175 crore during May. The company which is promoted by the country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) and goes by the brand name SBI Card said it has been focusing on business continuity since the first lockdown (late March) was announced, and has been continuously scaling up business operations since then.
SBI Card has undertaken a detailed scenario analysis of the unprecedented economic situation caused by the COVID-19 crisis and has developed strategies to manage its business impact, it said in a regulatory filing. On the spending side, it said credit card as a product has an advantage of continuous customer engagement due to the unique nature of business.
“As a result, spends on credit cards continued during lockdown through online and merchant outlets open during this period. Post relaxation of lockdown, average daily spends in the month of May 2020 is trending at over Rs 175 crore versus over Rs 290 crore for Q4 FY20,” SBI Card said.
However, the daily spend level in last 7 days of May is trending at over Rs 200 crore. It said the company is now averaging at over 60 per cent of the pre-lockdown daily average spending. Online spends for last quarter of 2019-20 were 44 per cent of the total retail spends which was at 55 per cent of total spends in May, it added.
Top online categories are departmental stores and groceries (D&G), utilities and services, while top point of sale categories are D&G, fuel, electronics and health and wellness.
While certain categories of spends like travel, dining and lodging have remained weak (new categories like education, online health and pharmacies have come up. The corporate card portfolio generated nearly Rs 6,000 crore of spends in Q4 FY20, SBI Card said.
“Considering a significant part of corporate cards spends is travel-related, both corporate travel and bulk purchase of airline inventory by travel agents were impacted due to lockdown and government restrictions.
“The corporate card spends have witnessed a moderate recovery with partial resumption of domestic air travel in the country since May 25,” it added. On sales and new accounts, it said that the company issued 8.5 lakh new cards in the quarter ended March 2020 at a daily run rate of about 10,000 cards per day till mid-March 20.
In April, nearly 27,000 new cards were issued primarily from the applications already in the pipeline at a daily run rate of less than about 1,000 cards per day. In May, with zone-based relaxations, sourcing of new accounts has gradually increased, and new cards run rate has reached approximately 2,500 cards per day, SBI Card said.
On the collections front, in the initial phase of lockdown, field and tele-calling channels were impacted, it said. Since then 80 per cent of its tele-calling is operationalised. While field collections continue to be impacted, the resources have been redeployed to tele-calling operations. Additionally, digital modes are being used.
“The company is continuously monitoring state notifications on lockdown and, with easing of restrictions, the field activities are gradually getting operationalised,” it added. SBI Card said its liquidity position is comfortable with diverse funding options available. The company’s stock traded with 2.61 per cent gains at Rs 562 apiece on BSE.