Central Bank of India (CBI) is planning to enlarge its overseas presence with a special focus in the African region. Addressing presspersons here on Friday, S. Sridhar, Chairman and Managing Director, said the bank was looking to set up operations in Mozambique, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Dubai and Sri Lanka.
The immediate intention was to establish operations in Mozambique as there was huge potential for banking business in Africa. India has a traditional link with Africa and only now sizable investments from India were taking place in that country, Mr. Sridhar said.
Central Bank had already signed a memorandum of understanding with a big business outfit in Africa for a joint venture in banking operations. The investment was placed at $10 million and the overseas company would have 76 per cent stake while Central Bank the remaining 24 per cent, he said. Though the overseas expansion was a lengthy process, the joint venture would start operations once the approval from the Reserve Bank of India and other formalities were in place, he said.
During this centenary year, the bank would serve under-banked villages and the plan was to open one branch each in 627 districts.
Financial inclusion in India's priority states was a strategic move by the bank and it had already entered into a memorandum of understanding with IFC, Washington to create growth opportunities for small and rural enterprises in India's priority states such as Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh where the bank has major presence.
The business opportunities were promising in these states and the bank had taken important initiatives to help small and rural businesses.
On the business prospects for the current financial year, Mr. Sridhar said the bank had fixed a target of 20 per cent growth in deposits and 22.5 per cent in respect of advances to reach a total business of Rs. 3.60 lakh crore.
In the year ended March 31, 2011, the bank had crossed the Rs. 3-lakh crore mark in respect of total business to reach Rs. 3.11 lakh crore.
On branch expansion, Mr. Sridhar said the bank was planning to add 250 branches. This would also include conversion of extension counters. In future, the bank would not have extension counters, he said.