State Bank of India mulls expansion in Lanka
To open two more branches here:
India’s richest bank, State Bank of India (SBI) is looking at
possibilities to expand business operations in Sri Lanka to reap
benefits from the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement, its SBI Chairman
O.P. Bhatt said.
Chairman SBI, O.P. Bhatt
Speaking to the Daily News Business he said Sri Lanka is one of the
growing markets in the region. This has prompted them to increase the
number of branches to strengthen Sri Lankan operations considerably.
He said their main focus is on the free trade agreement between the
two countries. Initially, they will set up two SBI branches shortly to
serve Indian customers, Indians living in Sri Lanka and other customers
more effectively and efficiently.
At present SPI operates only one branch in Colombo. This will expand
to three with the opening of two branches shortly.
Bhatt, attending the Indian Banking Conference in Hyderabad on Friday
organised by the Indian School of Business (ISB) under the theme on
“Economic and Social Responsibilities of Indian Commercial Banks: Is
There a Healthy Compromise,” said the Indian public sector is a little
handicapped to compete with the vibrant private sector banks in India.
He said that India is going through rapid economic development with
an annual GDP growth of more than 8.9 per cent. Therefore, the banking
sector has to play a major role to fund major infrastructure projects
that amounts to more than US$ 600 billion.
“India’s middle class population is the fastest growing population in
the world. Therefore, to cater the demand and improve the service SBI is
going for 20,000 new recruits which is the single highest recruitment
anywhere in the world”, he said.
Chairman SBI also said that SBI having won all the ratings in
customer care by all the rating agencies is now improving service
standards to cater to future demands in the banking sector.
International banking services of SBI are delivered for its Indian
customers, non-resident Indians, foreign entities and banks through a
network 67 offices/branches, 29 countries, spread over all time zones.
The network is augmented by a cluster of overseas and NRI branches
within India and correspondent links with 522 banks, the world over. The
Bank’s joint ventures and subsidiaries abroad further underline the
Bank’s international presence.
‘The services include corporate lending, loan syndications, merchant
banking, handling Letters of Credit and Guarantees, short-term
financing, and collection of documentary credits and remittances.
The Bank has carved a niche for itself in the Euroland with branches
located in Antwerp, Paris and Frankfurt. Indian banks and corporate are
able to avail single-window Euro services from the Bank’s Frankfurt