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Indian banks must aspire to join top global league: Kochhar

May 18, 2015 14:28 IST

With China's impressive economic growth catapulting their banks into the top global league, India's top private sector lender ICICI Bank's chief Chanda Kochhar has said Indian banks also must aspire to scale up their activities significantly.

ICICI Bank, which has opened its first branch in China, would also keep reviewing the India-linked business opportunities in the international markets and expand its presence as new avenues emerge, Kochhar said.

"For economies like India and China, where banks are the major financiers of growth, the performance of the banking sector is closely linked to the economy.

"China has an exceptional record of consistent high growth of over 10 per cent for three decades which has helped to catapult Chinese banks to a significant size at a global level," Kochhar told PTI in an interview here.

"India is expected to be the fastest growing economy in the medium term.

As India grows, Indian banks must also aspire to scale up their activities significantly," she said.

A number of Chinese banks have made it to the world's top banking league, but Indian banks are still not there.

Kochhar, who was here for the opening of ICICI Bank's first branch in China on Saturday, was replying to a question on whether some Indian banks, including ICICI Bank, would be able to join the top global league some time soon.

With a consolidated asset base of $132 billion, ICICI Bank is India's largest private sector bank and it is present across 17 countries.

It already had a representative office in China, which it had opened over 10 years ago in 2003.

The bank's international book accounts for about one-fourth of its assets.

To another question on whether ICICI Bank would look at entering other countries which have potential for greater trade flows with India, Kochhar said, "The Bank continues to review India-linked business opportunities and expand our presence as new avenues emerge."

"The Bank continues to calibrate its global presence as per its India-linked strategy. We have had a presence in China since over a decade through our representative office, which can now been be scaled up further through the branch to take advantage of the growing linkages between the two countries," she said.

ICICI Bank's global footprint consists of subsidiaries in the UK and Canada, branches in the US, China, Singapore, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Qatar and Dubai International Finance Centre, and representative offices in UAE, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The bank's UK subsidiary has established branches in Belgium and Germany.

Image: Chanda Kochhar, ICICI Bank chief

Photograph: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons

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