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March 02, 2018

Public Sector Banks shut 35 Overseas Branches : 69 More Offices to Close

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As part of the Clean and Responsible banking initiative, the Indian government has ordered the closing of 35 overseas branches of public sector banks (PSBs), as the role of PSBs in the country's banking fraud continues to stay under spotlight. Meanwhile, as many 69 international branches of PSU banks and their foreign offices, arms and JVs are being examined for closure. This move came after over Rs 11,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

Foreign branches of public sector banks like State Bank of India and Allahabad Bank provided loans to Nirav Modi-promoted companies against fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) issued by the PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai.

According to sources, Bank of India, Andhra Bank, IDBI Bank and Indian Overseas Bank have already closed down Dubai operations, while Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank and Union Bank of India have shut Shanghai offices. Bank of India has also closed down operations in Yangoon and Bostwana, while Bank of Baroda and Indian Overseas Bank have shut Hong Kong branch.

The government is planning to close all the non-viable operations overseas for cost efficiency and synergy. A committee headed by four-five bankers had recommended closing the international branches which are low on profitability.

As on January 31, 2018, public sector banks had about 165 overseas branches, besides subsidiaries, joint ventures and representative offices.

Note : India's largest lender State Bank of India has the largest number of overseas branches (52) followed by Bank of Baroda (50) and Bank of India (29).

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