A Bank of Baroda branch in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Public Sector Banks Plan Closure Of 70 Overseas Offices In This Fiscal

Public sector banks are in the process of closing or rationalising about 70 overseas operations in the ongoing financial year as part of a capital conservation exercise.

Unviable foreign operations are being shut, while multiple branches in same cities or nearby places are being rationalised to achieve efficiency, sources said. Public sector banks closed down 35 foreign operations last year.

According to data, 159 branches of public sector banks are operating in foreign countries, of which 41 branches were in losses in 2016-17.

The country’s largest lender, State Bank of India, led the pack with nine of its overseas branches in the red. It was followed by Bank of India and Bank of Baroda with eight and seven branches, respectively.

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As on Jan. 31, public sector banks had about 165 overseas branches, besides subsidiaries, joint ventures and representative offices.

SBI has the largest number of overseas branches (52), followed by Bank of Baroda (50) and Bank of India (29). The state-owned banks have the largest number of branches in the U.K. (32), followed by Hong Kong and the U.A.E. (13 each) and Singapore (12).

According to the banking sector agenda, approved at the PSB Manthan November last year, banks have to undertake rationalisation of overseas operations for cost efficiencies and synergies in overseas markets, based on competitive strength and viability, and a differentiated strategy to leverage banks’ competitive advantage.

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