Ahmedabad: Country’s largest lender State Bank of India on Tuesday said that Moody’s downgrade rating has not impacted it global expansion plans much as it would continue to expand its branch network both domestic and internationally over the next two years.
Last month, global credit ratings firm Moody had downgraded SBI’s financial strength by one notch to ‘D+’ from ‘C-’ on account of its low Tier-I (equity) capital ratio and deteriorating asset quality.
“To put things in perspective after downgrading we are at the same level as PNB, BOI or any other PSU bank and also equal to some of the leading banks in China like China Construction Bank,” SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told newsmen.
“So that has not impacted us much. What we are looking at expansion is whether the markets offer us opportunities. Right now we are opening a branch in Saudi Arabia and one in Qatar from where opportunity of remittances is high,” he said.
“Next we are looking at countries like Australia and New Zealand,” Chaudhuri said.
“On an average 40-50 overseas branches shall be opened over next two years. On large scale SBI’s new branches shall be opened in Nepal, besides Australia, Newzealand, for which we have retail banking licenses,” Chaudhuri said.
“The bank plans to open eight new branches in London by 2012 as every two months a new branch shall be opening, and four in Bangladesh also,” he said.
SBI currently operates with a network of 165 overseas branches spanning across 34 countries.
“We shall be opening 500 to 1,000 branches in the country, besides installing 10,000 ATMs over the next two years,” Chaudhuri said.
SBI presently operates with a network of around 13,500 branches across the country.
“On an average 750 new branches and around 5,000 ATMs per yer shall be opened in the country,” Chaudhuri said.
On a visit to Gujarat to address the chief general managers (CGMs) conclave, Chaudhuri met thirty top executives of the bank including CGMs of 14 different circle and 13 CGMs from its corporate business wing to take stock of the current scenario and take feedback on future strategies.