State Bank of India (SBI) will make London its hub for European operations, chairman O.P. Bhatt said in Mumbai on Thursday.
SBI, which has seven branches in the UK, will have five more in that country by June next year, starting with one in November, Bhatt said after meeting with UK minister of trade, investment and business Mervyn Davies to discuss bilateral trade and services between the two countries
Overall, the SBI group will add 44 branches in its overseas portfolio over the next 12 months, Bhatt said. The bank currently has 132 foreign offices including five subsidiaries.
Bhatt said the bank’s foreign business has been expanding at 40% over the past two years and that the growth rate will increase after the addition of the new branches. SBI is also open to acquisitions overseas, he added. Foreign operations contribute at least 10% to SBI’s profitability, he said.
According to Davies, the UK government is eager to increase bilateral trade with India and said he expected RBI to allow more foreign banks to enter the Indian market. RBI was expected to introduce a roadmap for expansion of foreign banks in India by April this year but put it on hold following the recession.