SBI to boost Gulf operations with new branch in Oman

Monday, 21 June 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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MUSCAT: The State Bank of India (SBI), India's largest bank, has launched operations in Oman, its first full-fledged branch in the Gulf region.

A.K. Purwar, chairman of the government-owned SBI, said late Saturday that the bank was aggressively looking at expanding operations in the region.

The bank has already applied for opening branches in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

He said SBI would soon have full-fledged operations in Bahrain. At present, the bank has an offshore banking unit in Bahrain.

With large corporate houses as its clients, SBI's operations in Oman will provide a platform for further investment by Indian companies into Oman, Purwar said.

"The SBI will act as a catalyst in attracting these companies to venture out and set up manufacturing base in Oman," he said.

The Muscat branch is SBI's 54th office abroad and the first full commercial branch in the Gulf region.

SBI Muscat has plans to introduce improved technology platform for India related business and remittances. The bank also has plans to offer ATM facilities that would enable access to its network in India.

The SBI is the largest financial group in India with 13,600 bank branches. It has 54 offices abroad spread over 33 countries.

The bank's 17 subsidiaries and six joint ventures cover banking, life insurance, mutual funds, credit cards and securities market.

Hamood Sangour Al Zadjali, executive president of the Central Bank of Oman, said the opening of the SBI branch was a vote of confidence in Oman's economy.

He said SBI's strengths in various areas would add value to the local economy as well as boost the historical relations between Oman and India, especially in the fields of business.

"The presence of SBI in Oman will facilitate the attraction of more Indian companies to invest in Oman. We are delighted to welcome them to Oman," he said, adding SBI has expertise in the areas of banking and investment services.

Talmiz Ahmed, the Indian envoy to Oman, said the opening of the SBI branch would go a long way in boosting bilateral relations between the two countries especially in the economic field.

Source: IANS
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