India's second largest lender, ICICI Bank has received permission from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to offer retail banking services in the country. The bank has been granted a qualified full banking (QFB) status.
With this move, ICICI has become the second Indian Bank to get an authorization in Singapore. The first authority was given to the largest lender of the country, State Bank of India around two years back.
These banking licenses are a part of the bilateral agreement that took place between India and Singapore as a step to expand their financial sectors. On this note, the largest bank of Singapore, DBS had received license from the RBI to open eight branches in India. UOB, another Singaporean bank also received licensing status for branch operations in India.
The bilateral agreement has been used by SBI to open seven branches and 17 ATMs in the city state of Singapore. SBI offers home loan and other loans there.
ICICI Bank has received permission to open 25 branches or ATMs in Singapore. But the bank would most probably follow a different expansion path in Singapore than what has been followed by SBI. An ICICI Bank official said: "In the near term, the bank will focus on increasing its presence in the corporate, commercial, wealth management and Direct Banking businesses both in Singapore and in the Asian region by capitalizing on the strong trade and investment flows with India."
The bank currently enjoys operations in 18 international locations. 25% of the revenues of the bank account from these international operations. The Singapore branch, which was the first overseas branch of ICICI Bank, currently has an employee strength of 50.
The bank official quoted, "Trade and investment flows between Singapore and India have been growing significantly as a result of CECA. We expect to see the step-up because of the free trade agreement between India and the Asian. We see continued growth in business opportunities as a result of this move."
The Singapore branch of the bank currently offers corporate facilities and products mainly to Indian corporates, international loan syndication, trade finance, deposit and wealth management products and treasury operations.