Singapore-based DBS Bank Ltd is planning to increase its flow of retail deposits in the country.
The General Manager and CEO of DBS Bank in India, Sanjiv Bhasin, said, "We are yet to decide the manner in which we would like to grow the assets. Raising deposits is a challenge. You have to mobilize the right liability base to originate assets to maintain the right asset-liability match."
The CEO however confirmed that the bank does not face any constraints on capital that several big banks have come across. DBS Bank enjoys a unique position amongst the foreign banks operating in the country. It is following the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), signed by India and Singapore in August 2005. The agreement between the two parties assures to enhance the financial sector of both the countries.
The CECA signed between the two nations mention that RBI would allow three Singapore banks to open 15 branches in India and similarly the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) would give three Indian banks qualified full bank license (QFB) status in Singapore. This QFB status would enable banks to mobilize deposits and operate at 25 centres in Singapore.
The QFB status has been given by MAS to India's largest lender, SBI that is now allowed to raise retail deposits and open 25 centres in Singapore, including ATMs and point-of-sales operations.
Similarly RBI has given a nod the DBS Bank in August 2008 to open eight branches across the country. "We will be in eight locations by the end of the first quarter," said Bhasin.
Presently DBS has only two branches in Mumbai and New Delhi and by June 2009 it will set up offices in Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Nashik, Surat, Moradabad and Salem.
"We would like to get more branches, but we have to first use the licences in hand. We need a sizeable presence to grow our wholesale and personal banking business," Bhasin said.
Bhasin further said that though the bank aims to mobilize retail deposits in the country, it will not stop giving loans. "Being a small bank, we have not been impacted by the recent economic meltdown. We have had no occasion to withdraw from the credit market," he said.