Kochi: Spurred by an all-round performance, Kerala-based ESAF Small Finance Bank Ltd. has registered Rs. 24 crore in profit after tax (PAT) for the six months ending September 30, 2018, according to the unaudited results approved by the board. Against a loss of Rs. 48.99 crore during the H1 of FY18, the Thrissur-based Bank reported a profit after tax of Rs. 24.06 crore, driven by a 70 per cent growth in gross advances at Rs. 3993.45 crore, mostly riding on its retail portfolio which now remains its mainstay. Commenting on the results, K Paul Thomas, Managing Director and CEO of ESAF Small Finance Bank Ltd., said the results reflected the improving macro economic conditions, especially among the under-served sections of society. “The increase in profit was because of the significant improvement in asset quality. While our net NPAs came down to a 0.49 per cent from 4.99 per cent, our gross NPAs came down to 3.37 per cent from 6.85 per cent on a YoY basis. This is commendable as the state of Kerala, where we have significant exposure, faced the worst floods in the century during the reporting period. “We have been on an expansion mode to increase the number of branches by 200 this fiscal year and tap the untapped market for which plans are well on track. Our concerted efforts right from the branch level contributed to higher growth. During the last six months, the Bank raised equity capital of Rs. 464.21 crore through the issuance of equity shares on preferential basis and the current level of capital funds on account of equity infusion can take care of the expected business growth for the medium term plan period. Building on the retail portfolio will be a thrust area going forward. CASA and micro RD (recurring deposit) will be new focus areas,” Paul Thomas added.