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Banking Sector in India

April, 2013

Indian Banking Sector: Brief Introduction

Banking is the heart of India's financial services sector. The banking industry has undergone numerous changes over the past few years to be at par with international banking norms and standards. While the banks' motive has shifted from social banking to profit banking, dependence on ledgers, documents, cheques and slips has been replaced by electronic initiatives or cashless banking. Earlier customers used to approach banks to avail their services, but now banks approach them to market their offerings. With increasing competition and better quality of services, customised service solutions seem to be the future of banking.

Mr Fred Hochberg, the US Exim Bank Chief, feels strong about India's long-term growth prospects. Exim Bank's exposure to India is US$ 8.5 billion of its total portfolio of US$ 108 billion and the concentration in India is expected to get bigger in 2013-14.

Key Statistics

  • According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s 'Quarterly Statistics on Deposits and Credit of Scheduled Commercial Banks', March 2012, Nationalised Banks accounted for 53.0 per cent of the aggregate deposits, while the State Bank of India (SBI) and its Associates accounted for 21.8 per cent. The share of New Private Sector Banks, Old Private Sector Banks, Foreign Banks, and Regional Rural Banks in aggregate deposits was 13.0 per cent, 4.8 per cent, 4.4 per cent and 3.0 per cent, respectively.
    Nationalised Banks accounted for the highest share of 52.0 per cent in gross bank credit followed by State Bank of India and its Associates (22.5 per cent) and New Private Sector Banks (13.5 per cent). Foreign Banks, Old Private Sector Banks and Regional Rural Banks had shares of around 4.8 per cent, 4.8 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively
  • Another statement issued by the RBI revealed that foreign exchange reserves increased by US$ 1.05 billion and stood at US$ 293.37 billion for the week ended March 22, 2013. Foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of the forex reserves, stood at US$ 260.41 billion while the gold reserves amounted to US$ 26.292 billion
  • Furthermore, India's economic expansion has made Indian banks more global in their approach. Ten banks have opened 100 branches in foreign jurisdictions as of February, 2013
  • Increasing mobile penetration, coupled with higher smartphone adoption has led an uptrend in mobile banking. Number of transactions through mobile banking witnessed a jump of 64 per cent in the April-December 2012 period, according to data from the RBI

Recent Developments

  • Banks in India are highly alert in grabbing opportunities to increase transaction volumes in their automated teller machines (ATMs) through religious gatherings in the country. Private sector banks have introduced mobile ATMs that migrate from one religious fair to another throughout the year. For instance, HDFC Bank, the second largest private lender in the country, had sent its mobile ATM to the Maha Kumbh Mela-2013 in Allahabad. Over 100 million people are estimated to have attended this fair and the bank has noticed that the transaction volumes were phenomenal. Similarly, Kerala-based Federal Bank stationed a couple of portable ATMs near Sabarimala temple during the last festival season when thousands of devotees visited the place
  • The US$ 4 billion- media conglomerate - Essel Group has forayed into the Indian financial services sector. It has set up two businesses, private equity (PE) and investment banking, under the names of Essel Finance Managers and CAPSTAR, respectively, under the holding company, Essel Financial Services. CAPSTAR, to focus on deals in infrastructure, real estate and financial services, has set up an office each in Mumbai, Noida, Bangalore and Delhi and will open one each in Chennai and Pune. The firm will focus on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), pre-Initial Public Offering (IPO) deals, qualified institutional placements (QIPs) and portfolio management services
  • France-based multinational bank Societe Generale has recently opened its third corporate banking branch at Sanand, near Ahmedabad in Gujarat. It already has branches in Mumbai and Delhi. Believing that Gujarat is one of the robust places in India and will provide good opportunities for bank to expand its base in the country, the Bank will provide all-types of financing, both short-term working capital lines and medium-long term equipment or project finance, in Indian as well as foreign currencies. It will also provide other specialised advisory and financing activities like M&A, project finance, equipment and commodities financing to its clients. The Bank will expand in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune by 2016