The state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), India’s third-largest lending institution, will soon set up an IT susidiary to provide technology-related assistance to the country’s growing financial sector.

“We have the technical know-how in the area of financial services and we want to share this know-how. So we applied for permission and the finance ministry has given its nod for an IT subsidiary,” said the bank’s chief general manager, R.I.S. Sidhu.

“Now we are working out the finer details about the level of investment required, the mode of financing the project and the number of people we should employ for this project,” Mr. Sidhu told IANS.

“What we are sure about is that it will be a 100-percent subsidiary.”

According to the senior official, several of the initial recruits for this new project will be drawn from the parent bank and their number could be in the region of 50-odd engineers.

“These will be people who are already working 100 percent on core banking system.”

Punjab National Bank also boasts of 100 percent computerization, covering all the branches, including 2,000 in rural areas, to provide ‘anytime anywhere’ services to all customers.

Among the other plans, Punjab National Bank had recently announced that it has received approval from the Reserve Bank of India to open a representative office in Australia and proposes to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in Canada by December.

It also has plans to have its footprint in other overseas destinations, notably South Africa, Ghana and Indonesia. It already has a presence in Hong Kong, Dubai, Kazakhstan, Britain, Shanghai, Singapore, Kabul and Norway.

As on March 31, 2009, it had assets of Rs.2,469 billion ($50 billion) making it the third largest bank in the country after the State Bank of India and ICICI Bank, but second in terms of branch network.

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