Cen­tral Bank of In­dia eyes UAE in ex­pan­sion drive

The Pak Banker - - Company & Boss News -

DUBAI: The Cen­tral Bank of In­dia (CBI), a lead­ing pub­lic sec­tor bank, may soon be join­ing the swelling rank of In­dian fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions that have al­ready set up pres­ence in the UAE to tap the busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in a re­gion boast­ing a large con­cen­tra­tion of non-res­i­dent In­di­ans.

The bank, which is mark­ing its cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions in 2011, has started ex­plor­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties of set­ting up a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice in the Emi­rates, and is even pon­der­ing the open­ing of a branch at Dubai In­ter­na­tional Fi­nan­cial Cen­tre, an off­shore fi­nan­cial district.

The Gulf foray is part of the bank's over­seas ex­pan­sion plan that will see "the sleep­ing gi­ant" em­bark­ing on an ag­gres­sive growth swing af­ter "a pe­riod of stag­na­tion," Cen­tral Bank of In­dia's Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Ra­jeev Kishor Dubey told Khaleej Times on the side­lines of an in­vest­ment sem­i­nar in Dubai. The over­seas ex­pan­sion would see the bank - the third largest pub­lic sec­tor bank in In­dia in terms of branch net­work - ex­pand­ing its reach to Hong Kong, Bhutan, Nige­ria, Tan­za­nia and Mozam­bique.

"The Gulf of­fers im­mense po­ten­tial as there is big de­mand for our ser­vices from the NRI pop­u­la­tion. The re­gion is also a good mar­ket for re­mit­tance," said Dubey. He said the bank's long over­due over­seas ex­pan­sion is to get more in­ter­na­tional busi­ness while ex­tend­ing its bank­ing fa­cil­i­ties to the In­di­ans set­tled abroad.

The cen­te­nary year will see the bank re­ju­ve­nat­ing its work­force, process and prod­ucts, while re­fur­bish­ing branches across In­dia, which is es­ti­mated to grow from 3,600 to 4,000 in six months.

Dubey ad­mit­ted that the bank has been dor­mant for the past 15 years. "We have now adopted a new busi­ness model to drive our growth fur­ther in the com­ing decade," he said.

Al­ready, Cen­tral Bank of In­dia has dou­bled its profit in fis­cal 2009-10 to Rs10 bil­lion, its "best ever year on all pa­ram­e­ters." "This year, we will see profit grow­ing to Rs15 bil­lion, up 50 per cent."

The bank will achieve 100 per cent CBS (core bank­ing so­lu­tion) cov­er­age by De­cem­ber 21 next year co­in­cid­ing with the birth­day of Sorabji Pochkhan­wala, who founded In­dia's first swadeshi bank on the same day in 1911, Dubey said.

Also on the bank's agenda, are plans to in­clude wealth man­age­ment and as­set man­age­ment ser­vices, in­stalling 500 on-site ATMs as well as a thrust on fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion, he said.

Dubey said the bank would pro­vide bank­ing ser­vices to 3,000 vil­lages in the coun­try hav­ing less than 2,000 pop­u­la­tion by 2012 as a part of govern­ment's di­rec­tives on im­ple­ment­ing Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion pro­gramme us­ing mo­bile tele­phone technology. By March, 1,975 vil­lages will be cov­ered un­der this ini­tia­tive. The bank will de­velop a soft­ware in lo­cal lan­guages so that it be­comes eas­ier for peo­ple to get bank­ing fa­cil­i­ties, he said. He said the bank is on course to achieve a tar­get of Rs3 tril­lion in busi­ness turnover by the end of this fis­cal year, as com­pared to Rs2.46 tril­lion it achieved last fis­cal. An­other ini­tia­tive by the bank is to in­crease its busi­ness per em­ployee to Rs80 mil­lion from less Rs55 mil­lion per em­ployee last year. Dubey said he is con­fi­dent of re­duc­ing non­per­form­ing as­sets and re­cover a to­tal of Rs6 bil­lion from NPA ac­counts be­fore March 31, 2011. The bank has also launched cross-coun­try re­mit­tance fa­cil­ity named 'Cent fast2 In­dia' in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bank of New York Mel­lon for NRIs in US. - PB News

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