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SBI to open branches in Bangladesh, South Africa
July 23, 2003 11:16 IST
State Bank of India is planning to open branches in Bangladesh and South Africa, while proposing a slew of launches in the domestic market to benchmark itself and achieve world-class levels of efficiency and service.
Highly placed officials of SBI, the only Indian bank among the top 200 banks in the world and the top 20 in Asia, said there were proposals for opening branches in Chittagong (Bangladesh), Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
"The necessary approval in this connection would be obtained soon," the officials said in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The bank, with a network of 48 overseas offices spread over 28 countries covering all the time zones, is also planning to upgrade its Sydney and Shanghai representative offices to full-fledged branches, they said.
SBI had closed its Jakarta and Sao Paulo representative offices last year as part of restructuring.
The one at Moscow, however, was being upgraded to a full-fledged bank in participation with the Canara Bank (holding 40 per cent share).
SBI chairman A K Purwar said it was being planned to position a large number of branches as 'super shoppes' for distributing an entire range of financial products, including the banking products.
The bank was planning to integrate many of its functions with that of its seven associate banks focussing on technology, large value credit, business processes and to some extent treasury function.
Commenting on the decision to synergise operations and carry its associate banks along, Purwar said it was an "innovative" initiative to reinforce growth strategy.
"To supplement the brick and mortar presence, we are pushing ahead with our technology initiative and have embarked on networking ATMs as well as those of seven associate banks.
This would enable customers of the entire SBI group to access any ATM of the group," he said.
The first phase of networking of 1600 ATMs of the SBI group has been completed, enabling online customers to withdraw funds from any machine across 460 cities.
"We have plans to further increase the number of ATMs and provide facilities such as payment of utility bills and filling up of mobile prepaid cards through the ATM-cum-debit card," Purwar said.
Among the new launches proposed, the chairman said, "A new product, Paryatan Plus, is being introduced to encourage tourism. Following the success of Kisan Credit and Kisan Gold card, we are launching some more products to expand lending for the agricultural sector. These include, among others, Krishi Plus, Arthias Plus and Dairy Plus."
SBI's 48 overseas offices made a net profit of Rs 109.90 crore (Rs 1,099 million) in 2002-03, up from 3.08 crore (Rs 30.8 million) in the previous year, and mobilised long-term foreign currency funds by way of structured deals worth $138.22 million for providing long-term funds to the bank's foreign offices and reducing the asset-liability mismatch.
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