Dena Bank to open branches at London, Hong Kong, Nairobi, Johannesburg to begin overseas forays

Written by Charanjit Ahuja | Chandigarh | Updated: Nov 17 2013, 23:00pm hrs
Public Sector Dena Bank is planning overseas forays with the opening of its London representative office by the end of December 2013 and branches at Hong Kong, Nairobi and Johannesburg in near future to expand footprint abroad. Ashwani Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director of the Bank during his visit to the capital of two agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana announced that tractor loans would now be extended at 10.25 per cent to farmers, focus would be on credit to retail, MSME and agriculture sectors and sanctioned advances of Rs 500 crores in these three sectors today itself.

Talking about overseas operations, Ashwani Kumar told that the Bank has already received approval from the Reserve Bank of India for opening a representative office at London. The bank has also met the UK regulator in this regard. He disclosed that the Dena Bank has also applied to the RBI for opening a branch each at Hong Kong, Nairobi and Johannesburg. Once an in-principle nod is received from the RBI, Dena Bank will approach the Government for its nod to open a branch in these three overseas locations.

Kumar agreed to a question that the economic slowdown has affected growth targets for the banking industry but said that Dena Bank was still eyeing about 20 per cent credit growth this year as against the targeted 25 per cent growth rate. For record, the Dena Bank deposits were up 12.11 per cent to Rs 93,669 crore as on September 30, 2013 while advances increased 10.54 per cent to Rs 65,664 crore over corresponding period last year.

The CMD also announced that the Bank would open 8 new branches in Chandigarh zone during December, 2013 and before March 2014. These branches would be located at Sonepat, Palwal, Rewari, Panchkula, Palampur, Mandi and Chandigarh. The CMD also announced to convert a branch to an all women branch in Haryana, the state which has skewed female population to send across a strong social message.

During his visit Ashwani Kumar accompanied by M.K. Sharma, GM (North) also met top industrialists and other account holders from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh to have their feedback to improve banking. To a query by Pawan Chaudhary, Chairman of a leading pharmaceutical company, Venus Remedies Limited, he said that restructuring of loans was required in some cases and it is the duty of the bank to meet borrowers when it finds that default was because of genuine reasons. He said that Banks must understand that if intentions of borrowers were good, they deserve support from the lenders.