Bank of Baroda: Ode to development
D. Ananda Kumar, Chief Executive (GCC Operations), Bank of Baroda, expects a strong banking and finance frontier, courtesy of reforms under Modi 2.0 government. Excerpts:
Bank of Baroda is a premier bank in India and looking at the elections from our perspective, we would want a stable government that would first and foremost look at the all-round development of the country.
In this context, Modi's win is a significant milestone in the history of India. The Government achieved an absolute majority along with the coalition partners and won huge seats which will enable them to strive for all round development of the country.
We are looking forward for the strengthened relationships within the country as well as the outside world. This is bound to be a much better term for the Government than in the earlier run, and we expect a positive outcome in the next five years.
The Government would be working towards development and prosperity through increase in cross-border investment and bilateral trade, which are expected to cross $100 billion mark in the coming years with many UAE companies expected to invest in India. The economy will grow with the expansion of the commercial sector and increase in the investment fuelled by market sentiment and better infrastructure.
Fortified growth ambitions
Looking at the relationship between the UAE and India, Modi has already visited UAE twice. This significant moment began when the rulers of the UAE set up a land dedicated to one of the largest temples in the region, BAPS Hindu Mandir.
The initiative was a remarkable and great achievement for both nations that indeed fortified its bilateral relations. We expect the next five years to proceed with further strengthened trade relations between the two countries, which is bound to improve at the rate of at least 15 per cent to 20 per cent on an annualised basis.
Strategic petroleum reserve and oilfield acquisition were remarkable achievements by both Governments. As the UAE celebrates the Year of Tolerance, India stands tall in combating terrorism.
Counter-terror cooperation is another significant move in making the bonds stronger between both nations. As recognition, Modi was recently awarded the Zayed Medal, the highest civilian honour by the UAE.
The dirham-rupee boost
In the banking sector, notably the finance arena, the leaders of both countries have agreed to start a UAE dirham - Indian rupee trade, and is expected to be officially formulised and structured soon.
This move has a lot of hope in store for both nations, as dealing in dirham-rupee will help boost trade, thus benefitting both economies. We can do much better with a direct link between the two currencies, instead of routing them through US dollars.
This is yet another remarkable progress that I expect, alongside the number of UAE-based investments taking place in India. Similarly, the UAE is home to a large Indian business community that are making huge investments across the emirates.
Expatriates are setting up business units at ease, courtesy of the transparent and conveniently set regulations in the country, from which we are expecting growth for both nations.
Infrastructure improvements underway
I believe that infrastructure in India is going to further consolidate and improve in the coming years. Power reforms are likely to happen, as a number of issues that crept up before did not get resolved as expected. We expect this to make progress in Modi's new tenure. The second sector set to receive a good boost is real estate, which was tremendously effected in India due to the GST.
India had the highest improvement by any large country as it jumped by 57 places in the World Banks Index for ease of doing business and ranked No.1 among South Asian countries, rising from 6th place in 2014. This among the many statistics that show us that India is moving in the right direction and has tremendous potential for the growth of our economy.
100+ years of banking excellence
To date, Bank of Baroda holds a rich 111-year history, with a 45-year presence in the UAE alone. In addition, the Bank possesses an overseas presence in over 23 countries across the globe. We have been present for the last 45 years in this part of the world.
The basic purpose of behind setting up a presence in the Middle East is to serve the expatriate community and establish a link and connect Indian traders to UAE-based organisations and businessmen.
Over the period of time, we have developed synergy between Indian businessmen and local establishments, providing support in the last 45 years. We were successfully able to instil a sense of confidence in our businessmen here and will continue to do so.
In addition, we now serve individual expatriates in retail communities in a major way. Last year, we were deeply involved in retail banking, home loans, loans against property as well as business loans. We look forward to improve and do better in these sectors in the next five years.
New era in public banking
Bank of Baroda recently underwent a merger and acquisition with Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank on April 1, 2019 that enabled it to become more powerful in terms of presence and reach. The initiative now successfully places the Bank as the second largest in India with an enriched banking and finance portfolio.
This has helped us gain a diversified portfolio across different regions of India, making us a stronger bank. Now we have proudly grown from 5,500 branches to 9,500 branches in total. As Modi 2.0 gets into gear, we expect Bank of Baroda to have further consolidation and merging of branches, such that the Bank will gain a competitive edge over other nationalised banks.
Bank of Baroda is committed to the development of the nation. With footprints in the UAE for the last 45 years, we have seen changes in the banking sector and are confident of taking both nations' their desires and ambitions to the next level. I wish the present government all the best and we wish for prosperity and success for the entire Indian community in the UAE, as well as for each and every citizen in India.
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