Strategic Plan to promote banking services

India is fast becoming the most-favoured destination for investors and international companies, which in turn would benefit New Zealand business, a top banker has said.

Mumbai based Bank of India Chairman & Managing Director Alok Kumar Mishra said that the Indian economy has been showing robust growth and that the Indian Government was further streamlining systems and procedures to encourage foreign investment and trade.

“Bank of India’s Strategic Plan takes into account the existing and emerging trade potential between the two countries and the enhanced outlook that would emerge after a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is signed between the two countries.

“We envisage closer engagement in several sectors of the economies of both countries. India is the largest producer of dairy products in the world while New Zealand is the largest exporter of dairy products. We look forward to playing a larger role as the FTA comes into effect,” he told Indian Newslink during an interview last week.

Mr Mishra was in Auckland in connection with the inauguration of Bank of India (NZ) Limited (a fully-owned subsidiary) and the first branch of the Bank in Epsom, Auckland on October 6, 2011.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Dr Alan Bollard inaugurated the branch in the presence of Mr Mishra, Indian High Commissioner Admiral Sureesh Mehta, National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, directors on the local board of the Bank and other invited guests.

Attractive Market

Mr Mishra was confident that New Zealand companies will find the Indian market more attractive after the FTA comes into effect.

As New Zealand manufacturers, wholesalers, exporters and other businesses explore the vast potential in the Indian market, they would also consider adding value to their commercial and trade relationships, he said.

Mr Mishra said his Bank was well positioned to offer products and services to large, medium and small enterprises.

“We will provide deposit and credit products, mortgages and lending, internet banking, Credit Card and other services that our customers will find comprehensive.

He said Bank of India customers would have the advantage of connecting with businesses in 19 other countries where it has offices and branches.

“One of the greatest advantages that Bank of India can offer to New Zealand customers keen on dealing with Indian companies is market intelligence and an honest assessment of their potential partners. Our extensive branch network in India (about 3500) enables us to obtain appropriate information quickly and accurately,” Mr Mishra said.

He said Indian banks are well regulated and capitalised.

A sound bank

“Bank of India is financially sound. We have cleaned up our balance sheet; our Gross Non-Performing Assets (NPA) ratio improved to 2.23% as at the end of the last financial year, from 2.85% shown as at the end of March 31, 2010. Our Net Interest Margin (NIM) for domestic operations increased to 3.31% from 2.92% in 2010. On a global basis, NIM moved up to 2.92% in 2011 from 2.51% in 2010,” he said.

As reported earlier, Bank of India reached a significant milestone in its business mix as at the end of March 2011, with its global business placed at $139.75 billion, up by 29.29% over the previous year’s figure of $108.08 billion.

“Domestic business registered 26.02%, while overseas business rose by 39.87%. In a year of tight liquidity, the bank has done well in mobilising deposits. Our Total deposits, placed at $81.09 billion as at the end of March 2011, accounted for an increase of almost 31% over the figure of $61.92 billion recorded as at the end of the previous financial year,” Mr Mishra said.

According to the Bank’s balance sheet, total advances, placed at $58.65 billion, were 27.03% higher than the previous year’s figure of $46.16 billion.

“The customer base of the Bank increased to 45.05 million, with the addition of 8.08 million new customers during 2010-11,” Mr Mishra said.

Dr Bollard said that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand applied stringent conditions and procedures for granting licenses to foreign banks to operate in the country.

“We welcome institutions like the Bank of India which have a good standing and good rating. Banks are important for any economy as they provide financial security and services. Some countries have found that banks can be problem but banks operating in New Zealand were tested during the recent crisis,” he said.

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