By Sumit Sharma/Bloomberg
Barclays Plc., the British bank that agreed to buy ABN Amro Holding NV., plans to more than double its employees in India to 700 by the end of this year as a record economic expansion spurs demand for loans.
Britain’s third-biggest bank, with 276 staff in India, plans to offer personal and small business loans and credit cards, Samir Bhatia, managing director for India, said in Mumbai.
“India has a high-potential and fast-growing retail financial services sector with retail banking set to grow at a compound rate of at least 30% a year,” said Bhatia.
Global and domestic banks are seeking a share of India’s expanding retail market in an economy that’s grown an average 8.6% in the past four years, helping boost salaries in the world’s fastest growing major economy after China.
Average salaries in India are projected to rise 15% in 2007, according to human resource firm Hewitt Associates Inc. India had the highest average salary increase in the Asia- Pacific region in 2006, gaining 13.8% compared with 14.1% in 2005, Hewitt said.
“Consumer loans account for just about 5% of the GDP in India, compared to as high as 100% in some developed countries,” said Bhatia. “So, India still has a lot of potential.”
The London-based bank has three branches in India at Mumbai, Kanchipuram, near Chennai and Nelamangala, near Bangalore, and has applied for more, Bhatia said, declining to give details.
The bank, which in March said it was more than doubling investment in its Indian unit to $370 million from $150 million, also operates Barclays Capital, its investment banking unit in India.