UBI eyes Indian businesses for faster growth

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Bangalore, Oct 17: Public sector Union Bank of India, the fifth largest bank in the country, will focus on Indian businesses, which had shown faster pace of growth with acquisitions within the country and abroad to expand the bank's business, Bank's CMD M V Nair said today.

Speaking after inaugurating Field General Manager's office here, he said UBI, in its pursuit to become a 'global player' in the banking sector was looking at the Indian businessmen.

"We now want to chase the Indian business which is emerging as star players in the economy with fast paced growth and their expansion programmes like acquisitions abroad will bring us extra business. The blue collared market abroad will continued to be perused but we see a lot of potential in the growth oriented businessmen," he added.

In its bid to become a global bank, UBI had already opened its Rep branch in Shanghai and would open another Rep office in Abu Dhabi in December. Its full fledged branch in Hong Kong would be opened next year. This apart, it would seek growth through its three new businesses in the segments of General Insurance, Credit Card and Private Equity, he added.

"We have finalised our Life Insurance venture with Bank of India and Japanese Insurance major Dai-ichi Mutual Life as JV partners. We expect to double our commission earning this year from Rs 30 crore earned last year. For mutual fund business the bank is in talks with some foreign players," he added.

Mr Nair said the strong branch network would be the plus point for the bank's growth in Insurance business which it would enter next year. We crossed the 2200 branches mark in March last year and this will go up to 2400 by the end of this fiscal. "We opened 124 new branches last year and in the current fiscal we will add another 200 for which all lincences are in place," he said.

He said the business mix of the Mumbai-headquartered Bank was expected to reach Rs 1.85 lakh crore mark by 2008 from Rs 1.50 lakh crore in June this year an year on year growth of 35 per cent.

The CMD said the credit take off had been rather slow this year with the bank notching up only a six per cent growth during the first six months in the current year. "It will pickup in the second half of the fiscal to reach the 25 per cent mark. The credit take off from retail and the corporate sector has been weak. This is because corporate houses have a healthy internal accruals. There are indications that credit take off in the retail sector would pickup later this year. Good monsoon is another factor for poor credit growth," he said.

The RBI had projected a 25 per cent growth in the credit take off this fiscal.

Mr Nair said UBI as part of its CAS and to achieve the required target of inclusive banking was issuing bio-metric debit cards in a big way. It's pilot projects in Chahania in UP, Warrangal in AP and Mumbai, where it was issuing cards to hawkers, had proved to be a good success. It had so far issued 7000 such cards in UP, 5000 in Mumbai and 8000 in AP, he added.


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