Dubai: On a major overseas expansion spree, Bank of Baroda plans to increase its footprint in the Gulf region with the starting of full-fledged operations in Bahrain in March and is also looking at having presence in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
“By 2012, we plan to have 100 overseas offices,” Anil K. Khandelwal, chairman and managing director, who is is in the UAE to unveil several new initiatives told reporters.
He said the Gulf region “is a very important” part of the bank’s plans for overseas expansion. “The UAE operations are our top priority since they are most profitable,” he said, adding Dubai offers the conducive climate for banking since it is a business hub and is hosting many mega projects in tourism and infrastructure.
“We are also looking at the Kuwait and Saudi Arabian market,” Khandelwal said, adding in Bahrain the bank received a full-fledged licence to open in March. The bank is also looking at starting Qatar operations.
BOB is only the sixth Indian bank to have full banking operations in the UAE with six branches. It also has full-fledged operations in Oman. In all the bank has 2,800 branches in India and 66 offices abroad in 24 countries, the highest for an Indian bank.
“This year (upto March 08 fiscal) we will open 10 branches abroad. In Ghana we will open next month as well as open ninth office in London and have new offices in Uganda and Kenya. In 2009, the bank will open in New Zealand, Canada and Mozambique.”
About the about focus on retail banking and SMEs, he said the initiatives are part of a new paradigm of customer services.“ Nowadays competition is not on interest rates, but more on speed, he said.