No move for merger and consolidation: BoI CMD

Mumbai, Nov 28 | Updated: Nov 29 2004, 07:37am hrs
M Venugopalan, chairman & managing director, Bank of India has said that no firm plans for any merger or consolidation of his bank has emerged yet. BoI is one of the biggest in the indian banking industry. I think that merger among public sector banks, all of whom have their own strengths, would be a merger of equals in most cases, he said in an exclusive interview with FE.

According to him, consolidation in domestic banking is perhaps an idea whose time has come.

The cost of doing business, particularly the huge cost of IT, risk management and compliance with emerging regulation, including Basel-II also dictate that there should be larger sized banks to derive cost economies, commented Mr Venugopalan.

The bank, which has at present 22 overseas branches and offices, is looking at possibilities for expanding through branch/subsidiary or representative office in the Saarc, Africa, North & South Americas, Middle East and select centres in Europe. We also have plans to upgrade our representative offices in China and Vietnam to branches, he revealed.

The banks overseas operations contribute around 20% to its business and revenues and the bank wants to maintaain the contribution.

The bank had appointed Boston Consulting Group for two specific areas: product profitability and design and strategy for SME business. BCGs final reports are under finalisation, based on which the bank may decide to reshape its business strategy in some areas, he said.

On plans to access the capital market, Mr Venugopalan said: We have not yet made any firm plans to access the capital market. The decision will be taken at an appropriate time, based on our needs and market conditions.

In keeping with the new competitive scenario in the banking industry, the bank is taking initiatives on several fronts including technology, marketing, business strategy and risk management to continue to be an important player and among leaders in the banking industry, he added.

The BoIs Core Banking initiative is making good progress and after 10 branches in pilot, rolling out branches as per schedule has commenced.

The bank is also one of the active players in treasury and is offering a variety of new-age hedging products to its customers. The bank continues to have the patronage of over 2.3 crore customers including top industrial houses and public sector units.