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April, 2011

The banking system remains, as always, the most dominant segment of the financial sector. Indian banks continue to build on their strengths under the regulator's watchful eye and hence, have emerged stronger.

In the annual international ranking conducted by UK-based Brand Finance Plc, 18 Indian banks have been included in the Brand Finance® Global Banking 500. In fact, State Bank of India (SBI), which is the first Indian bank to be ranked among the Top 50 banks in the world, has improved its position from 36th to 34th, as per the Brand Finance study released on February 1, 2011. The brand value of SBI has enhanced to US$ 1.12 billion. ICICI Bank, the only other Indian bank in the top 100 club has improved its position with a brand value of US$ 2.5 billion. Indian banks contributed 1.7 per cent to the total global brand value at US$ 14.74 billion and grew by 19 per cent in 2011, according to the study.

Nationalised banks, as a group, accounted for 51.2 per cent of the aggregate deposits, while State Bank of India (SBI) and its associates accounted for 22.5 per cent, according to Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) 'Quarterly Statistics on Deposits and Credit of Scheduled Commercial Banks: September 2010'. The share of New private sector banks, Old private sector banks, Foreign banks and Regional Rural banks in aggregate deposits was 13.5 per cent, 4.5 per cent, 5.2 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.

With respect to gross bank credit also, nationalised banks hold the highest share of 50.9 per cent in the total bank credit, with SBI and its associates at 23.1 per cent and New Private sector banks at 13.7 per cent. Foreign banks, Old private sector banks and Regional Rural banks held relatively lower shares in the total bank credit with 5.2 per cent, 4.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively.

The report also found that scheduled commercial bank offices (with deposits of US$ 2.25 or more) accounted for 66.2 per cent of the bank offices, 96.6 per cent in terms of aggregate deposits and 93.8 per cent in total bank credit.

Bank loans registered a growth of 21.38 per cent in 2010-11, while deposit growth stood at 15.84 per cent, according to data released by RBI. Analysts and bankers said a growth rate of 18 per cent in deposits and 20 per cent in credit should be sustainable for banks in 2011-12.

India's foreign exchange reserves stood at US$ 308.2 billion as on April 8, 2011, according to the data in the weekly statistical supplement released by RBI.

Indians who live and work abroad have remitted US$ 55 billion in 2010 as compared to US$ 49.6 billion in 2009 and have topped the world list in sending money back home, according to World Bank's Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011. With online money transfer services provided by many banks becoming popular, remitting money from any corner of the world is no more a problem.