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Singapore-based DBS Bank plans to trim India branches in 2-3 years

By Abhijit Lele
February 15, 2021 11:16 IST
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The combined deposits of its Indian operations stood at SGD 9 billion and net advances were at SGD 5.6 billion at the end of December 2020.

Singapore-based DBS Bank plans to scale down its network of 600 branches in India over the next two-three years as part of rationalisation of operations.

The bank got over 560 branches into its fold when it merged troubled private lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) with its Indian subsidiary DBS Bank India in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2020.

 

The combined deposits of its Indian operations stood at SGD 9 billion and net advances were at SGD 5.6 billion at the end of December 2020.

In a post-results media interaction, Piyush Gupta, chief executive of DBS Group, said: “Do we need 600 branches? I do not think”.

The bank, however, did not indicate the number of branches it planned to rationalise.

Before the merger, Shakti Sinha, then director of LVB, had said for a bank of its size, a network of 563 branches was huge.

In these days of digital banking, there is all the possibility of DBS Bank India rationalising LVB’s branch network, Sinha had said.

DBS Bank has maintained it will have a substantial branch presence, especially in cities in the five states of south India.

It has adopted an approach termed as Phigital, which blends physical networks with strong digital presence.

The bank hopes the integrated operations will improve its net interest margin  due to the benefits of lower deposit costs and better yields.

The bank expects Indian operations to be profitable in 12-24 months.

Photograph: Edgar Sue/Reuters

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Abhijit Lele in Mumbai
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