United Kingdom is keen on having more Indian banks operating in the country. The country would "make it as easy as it can" for Indian banks to start operations there, said UK's commercial secretary to treasury Sir James Sassoon. The country's main aim is to bring about a rise in bilateral cooperation in the financial services sector.
According to Sir James, there are near about 10 Indian banks which are willing to spread their branch network in UK. Presently, 10 Indian banks already have branches in UK.
ICICI Bank has 11 branches and SBI has 7 branches there. Other banks having branches there include Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank.
RBI has been working to increase the "reciprocity" in this regard since quite some time by allowing foreign banks to start operations here. India is allowed to give license to 12 foreign banks per year to set up operations in the country.
"(Post-crisis), a lot of banks are getting on the front foot again and thinking about their strategies, particularly out of India. Now is a good time for us to re-examine our own approach to how banks enter the markets in UK... We know at least 10 banks at the moment who are thinking about opening up in London," Sir James said.
"I will be talking to RBI for the road map of market opening in India and at the same time we are launching a new guide for Indian banks who are increasingly wanting to move into the UK to make it easy and drive Indian banks into UK," he said.
"The UK market is attractive for Indian oriented businesses with a larger Indian population. Having said that, 10-15 branches here and there are not too significant. ICICI Bank, SBI and Bank of India will continue to dominate among Indian banks there, while the new banks will try to move from wholesale to retail," said Vaibhav Agrawal, vice-president (research) at Angel Broking Ltd.