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December, 2010

The banking system remains, as always, the most dominant segment of the financial sector. Indian banks continue to be well-regulated, and under the regulator's watchful eye, have emerged stronger.

In the annual international ranking conducted by UK-based Brand Finance Plc, 20 Indian banks have been included in the Brand Finance® Global Banking 500. In fact, the State Bank of India (SBI) has become the first Indian bank to be ranked among the Top 50 banks in the world, capturing the 36th rank, as per the Brand Finance study. The brand value of SBI increased from US$ 1.5 billion in 2009 to US$ 4.6 billion in 2010. ICICI Bank also made it to the Top 100 list with a brand value of US$ 2.2 billion. The total brand value of the 20 Indian banks featured in the list stood at US$ 13 billion.

According to RBI's 'Quarterly Statistics on Deposits and Credit of Scheduled Commercial Banks: March 2010', nationalised banks, as a group, accounted for 51.9 per cent of the aggregate deposits, while State Bank of India (SBI) and its associates accounted for 22.5 per cent. The share of other scheduled commercial banks, foreign banks and regional rural banks in aggregate deposits were 17.5 per cent, 5.0 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively.

With respect to gross bank credit also, nationalised banks hold the highest share of 52.0 per cent in the total bank credit, with SBI and its associates at 23.1 per cent and other scheduled commercial banks at 17.4 per cent. Foreign banks and regional rural banks had a share of 4.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively in the total bank credit.

The report also found that scheduled commercial banks served 34,801 banked centres. Of these centres, 27,946 were single office centres and 65 centres had 100 or more bank offices.

Significantly, on a year-on-year basis, bank credit grew by 16.7 per cent in 2009-10.

India's foreign exchange reserves crossed the US$ 300 billion mark for the first time since August 2008. For the week ended November 5, 2010, India's forex reserves rose by US$ 2.26 billion to US$ 300.21 billion, according to the data in the weekly statistical supplement released by the Reserve Bank of India. The reserves rose on account of a US$ 2.19 billion increase in the bank's foreign currency assets.

Indians working overseas sent more money back home than any of their global counterparts, remitting US$ 50 billion in 2009 despite a worldwide economic slowdown and anti-immigration measures adopted by industrialised countries.

Major Developments

Indian Bank has received the Central Bank of Sri Lanka's nod to open its branch at Jaffna in Sri Lanka.

Indian Bank has signed an agreement with Weizmann Forex Ltd, and will now offer foreign remittances service over the counter at all its branches.

The National Payment Corporation of India is rolling out an instant interbank mobile payment service (IMPS) that will enable retail customers of seven banks to enjoy 24X7 funds transfer. State Bank of India, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and YES Bank on November 22, 2010 became the first set of banks to go live with the IMPS.

Amongst the private banks, owing to strong growth in interest income, the country’s third-largest private sector lender, Axis Bank, reported a net profit of US$ 166.3 million for the second quarter of this financial year, a 38.28 per cent increase from US$ 120.3 million a year ago.