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UBI opens branch to serve expats
Abdul Basit / 10 March 2013
The Union Bank of India (UBI) on Saturday inaugurated its second overseas branch in Dubai and announced to open two more branches within a year in London and Antwerp, Belgium.
The sixth largest public sector bank had earlier marked its footprint on overseas territories through setting up its first branch in Hong Kong in 2008 and five representative offices in Abu Dhabi (UAE), Beijing and Shanghai (China), Sydney (Australia) and London (UK).
The UBI branch at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) will cater to the business requirements and expansion plans of Indian corporates in overseas markets.
“Our balance sheet size is more than $2 billion at Hong Kong branch and we expect a $1 billion size at DIFC branch by March next year,” D. Sarkar, chairman and managing director of the bank, told Khaleej Times at a news conference in Dubai.
Union Bank in its global expansion plans has included UAE and Dubai in particular due to India’s strong cultural and traditional linkage and the growing trade with UAE. The bank opened its first representative office in Abu Dhabi in 2007 and has since been facilitating the expatriates by providing them single window assistance for its international business.
Sarkar mentioned that with strengthening bilateral relationship and UAE emerging as one of the largest trading partners of India, the newly opened UBI DIFC branch of the bank is a logical culmination of the five-year old initiative taken by the bank to cater to the NRI population in UAE.
The DIFC branch is expected to serve as a geographical and time zone link between Europe and USA in the West and Singapore and Hong Kong in the East, he said. The bank has got regulatory approval for branches in London and Antwerp and finalising locations in each city, he added. Earlier in the day, Namo Narain Meena, Minister of State for Finance, Government of India, inaugurated UBI’s DIFC branch. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that there is immense opportunity for Indian banks in international market. DIFC is strategically located financial hub. Supportive infrastructure and the friendly regime make it perfect base to take advantage of the region’s rapid growth, the minister said.
Commenting on the timing of newly opened branch, the Sarkar remarked that the branch will leverage on the rapidly growing business opportunities in Dubai and UAE as a hub for international business centre.
The chairman indicated that the bank expects to open 100 more branches and 600 more ATMs in India by the end of March, 2013. The bank also expects 15 per cent increase in deposits and up to 20 per cent increase in advances.
Talking about the challenges to the banking industry in India, he said there are challenges, but there are also a lot of opportunities as the country has more than 1.2 billion population.
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