BANK OF BARODA: Rapid expansion

BANK OF BARODA: Rapid expansion
D. Ananda Kumar, Chief Executive, (GCC Operations), Bank of Baroda

BOB has six branches, nine EBSUs and 46 ATMs in the UAE

Published: Fri 26 Jan 2018, 4:26 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 6:29 PM

India's leading public-sector lender, Bank of Baroda (BoB), began operations in 1908 in Baroda, Gujarat. Over the past 100 years, it has expanded rapidly, both in India and abroad. It has branches, subsidiaries and even joint ventures around the globe.
Excerpts from an interview with D. Ananda Kumar, Chief Executive (GCC Operations), Bank of Baroda:

What competitive edge do you have over competitors and what are the significant challenges you faced in recent years?

Our bank is the only Indian one having presence in mainland in the UAE with full-fledged banking in almost all emirates. We also have a presence across the globe, including the U.S., U.K. and Africa.
So, it's easy for the customers to transact with only one bank for their entire business needs. Moreover, we have NRI Desks in all the branches to facilitate Indian expats whether it is for making FDR in India or availing a housing loan in India. We facilitate them from our branches in the UAE.
They can open accounts in both the currencies i.e. in AED (for local purpose) and INR (for India) in one bank, and no other local or foreign bank has this facility in the UAE.

What are the steps your bank is taking to control the problem of money laundering?

In the UAE, the Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE), the regulator, follows global standards set up by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for counterattacking threats to Banking system from Money Laundering (ML). We at BOB UAE also ensure compliance of statutory laws of the land and regulatory guidelines issued by CBUAE concerning Anti Money Laundering (AML).
The measures adopted by CBUAE to counter the problem of ML in banking industry have been made much more stringent, and as a result of this, banks in the UAE are more vigilant. We have a proper compliance department comprising seven staff members. It is taking all possible measures to control the problem of money-laundering by ensuring:

- Monitoring of accounts and transactions from AML angle.
- Stringent customer on boarding measures.
- Regular Training on KYC, AML and Trade based Money Laundering to bank staff.
- Customer screening against major sanctions lists.
- Filing of qualitative STRs to CBUAE.
- Upgradation of systems - Risk categorisation and input of customer data in Finacle.
- Issuing guidelines/circulars for disseminating any updates to staff.   

Has the banking system in the UAE fully recovered from the losses witnessed after the fall in 2015 ?oil prices?

Oil prices, which was at the lowest around $40 per barrel, is now increased to $65 a barrel. With this, the economy of the Middle East has also shown growth. The banks liquidity also got affected due to reduction in revenues and government spending from the reserves created. However, due to improvement in prices and stabilisation, the position is improving now. Due to slowdown in economy, the business of banks both in deposits and advances took a hit. We are expecting an increase in business during the current year because of the recent revival.

Can you elaborate on your present operations in ?the UAE?

Our bank has been serving in the UAE for over 40 years and we have covered almost all Indian communities through different products and services. Currently we have six branches, nine EBSU (Electronic banking service units) and 46 ATMs in the UAE. We are privileged that we are the only Indian bank in the UAE with full-fledged onshore operations and we have now started to expand our reach with the same number of branches through marketing teams and we are planning to put more ATMs for easy banking. We have been given maximum licences by the regulatory authorities, and our continuing efforts to expand our operations.

What steps are being taken by the bank to modernise facilities for customers to transfer money?

Certainly, BoB is the most popular bank among Indian expats and for transfer money back home we have started it through ATMs, Mobile Banking Application and Internet Banking. Though it is in the landing stage, but we are looking forward for further expansion.

What has been the response of other expat communities and Emiratis towards the bank?

When it comes to other expats the bank has the same popularity. Due to some reason, they don't bank with us, but Emiratis do bank with us for all the facilities. Our bank has been serving in the UAE for over 40 years and we have covered almost all Indian communities through different products and services. Currently we have six branches, nine EBSU (Electronic banking service units) and 46 ATMs in the UAE.

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