SBI, GIC Re mark up in the ladder of global ranking
By Vaibhav Aggarwal
Oct 6, 2008
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The current sub-prime crisis has created havoc in the world financial markets where few majors have either departed or lost their positions as top banks and financial institutions. At this time the Indian public sector banks and financial institutions are trying hard to make their appearance more prominent in the global market.

In fact India's largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI) with over Rs 7 lakh crore assets has been successful in improving its global ranking to 57th position from 70th earlier. General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re), the sole official reinsurer, with assets over Rs 36,000 crore has also managed to move up from 22nd to 16th position.

SBI along with 21 other Indian banks has been placed 57th in the list of top 1,000 banks. Among others in the list is HDFC Bank which has improved its position from 336 to 219, after merging with Centurion Bank of Punjab. The other Indian banks which have marked an improvement in their rankings are Punjab National Bank that moved to 250 from 255, Oriental Bank of Commerce (348, 378), Bank of India (373, 411), Union Bank of India (431, 496),and Corporation Bank (498, 507).

However there are few which have fallen down on the list. Country's largest private lender, ICICI Bank, came down to 150 from its earlier position of 147 in 2007-08. Similarly State-run Bank of Baroda has fallen by a substantial mark of 21 to 280 from 259th position during the same period.

The top 1,000 global banks ranks have been based on the Basel's Bank for International Settlement (BIS) definition of Tier 1. The rank show the bank's soundness in relation to Basel requirement of a minimum Tier 1 capital on risk weighted assets of 4% and minimum ratio of capital to risk weighted assets of 8%.

GIC Re has acquired 16th position in the list prepared for top 40 global reinsurers. The company which comes up as a leading reinsurer in the Afro-Asia region, has marked up the ladder over Japanese reinsurance majors like Mitsui Sumitomo, Sompo Japan Insurance. GIC Re is also looking at expanding its international business and to this the Chairman & Managing Director of GIC Re, Yogesh Lohiya said, "Our international business contributes 27 % to our revenues and we expect growing it to 50% in next five years." The firm's total premium was Rs 9,300 crore for the period 2007-08.

Currently, non-life insurance companies have to compulsorily place 15% of their reinsurance business with GIC Re-which is known as obligatory cessions. This will be reduced to 10% from April 1, 2008 and will gradually be fully withdrawn.

Mr Lohiya said the company hoped to increase the share of its international business from 22% to 28% of the portfolio. "In 5-10 years, we would like the break-up between domestic and foreign businesses to be 50:50," he said.

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