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May 14, 2002 | 1255 IST
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StanChart seeks nod for 10 new branches

BS Economy Bureau

As part of its strategy to focus on second rung cities, Standard Chartered Bank has approached Reserve Bank of India for permission to set up 10 new branches, with four of them in new cities. The bank intends to open about 15 branches this year.

The bank has drawn up plans to tap the top 25 cities in India and also devise products to cater to small and medium enterprises with turnover of less that 750 million along with a focus on non-resident Indians, StanChart's regional head (consumer banking) Vishu Ramachandran said.

With this hopes to raise the revenue earnings to 15-20 per cent from commercial operations by 2005.

The bank, which would formally complete its merger with ANZ Grindlays Bank by September by integrating the system and operations, has already got licence for opening six branches from RBI.

The focus areas of the bank, whose Indian operations contribute 12 per cent of the group profits, On the cost for setting up 15 new branches, Ramachandran said it would be in the range of $5-8 million dollars over a three year period and would be met internally.

This multinational bank's business of over Rs 250 billion in last calendar year was due to unsecured business (comprising credit cards and personal loans), wealth management (deposits, investments, non-resident deposits and bancassurance) and secured business (home and auto finance).

"Unsecured business comprised 45 per cent of the total revenue, while wealth management and secured business garnered 40 and 15 per cent respectively," Ramachandran said.

For the NRI business, Standard Chartered would focus on Persian gulf (mainly UAE, Bahrain and Oman), Asia Pacific and east African regions, which not only have a high concentration of Indians but were good markets too, Ramachandran said.

The bank, with 75-80 ATMs at present, recently introduced "axcess plus" system for accessing over 2,400 ATMs in the country, he said. The bank has 33 per cent market share in outstanding credit card business and 26 per cent 'in force', he said.

Ramachandran said the top 10 cities, classified on the basis of population and socio-economic conditions, contributed to major business of the bank.

StanChart India, whose net profit last calendar year was approximately $ 125 million, recently rolled out a flexible "home saver" loan, allowing the customers to pool in their extra incomes in the savings bank account towards the repayment of loans.

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