Mumbai, Dec 20 (UNI) India's leading multi-state co-operative bank Saraswat Co-operative Bank Ltd has planned to increase its business to one lakh crore rupees, before completing its centenary in 2018.
The Bank, which has recently completed the formality of its sixth acquisition so far, of Nashik Peoples Co-operative bank, has applied for country-wide expansion to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and looking for more acquisitions of potential co-operative banks, bank's Director Eknath K Thakur said last evening here.
In the last five years, the bank's business grew by almost four times to Rs 17,000 crore from Rs 4,623 crore in 2002 and the business generated by per employee was Rs 6.23 crore, by the end of the FY-07, Mr Thakur said, adding, ''Presently, Saraswat Co-op has an emplyee base of 2,727 handling six lakh accounts and planning to go for 10 lakh account by the end of 2011.'' Later, to a query, Bank's Managing Director S K Banerji told UNI that the bank was not planning for privatization but it could be a compulsion after few years due to increasing competition.
''Moreover, the challenges of globalisation and privatisation are tough and it is definitely a matter to heed over.'' There will be a tough competition after 2009, when only major banks would be able to sustain and small banks including co-operative banks will face serious challenges, he opined.
The bank has identified at least five more co-operative banks for acquisition in the near future, for which the talks are on, Mr Banerji said without disclosing the name of the banks.
The bank's forex turnover during the last fiscal was around Rs 41,000 crore and had a wholly-owned IT subsidiary namely 'Saraswat Infotech'. It has presence in five states including Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and has got permission from the apex bank to open its branch in New Delhi.
''The new branch at Lajpatnagar in Delhi would be functional by the second quarter of next year,'' Mr Thakur said.