Barclays Plc’s attempts to scale up its cash management business in India via a tie-up with the country’s post office are starting to bear fruit, according to the U.K. bank’s local corporate banking head. The deal with the 164-year-old mail service, first agreed in 2015, allows Barclays to offer its cash management services via some 8,000 postal branches spread out across the country. That’s vital for winning business from large Indian and global companies, which often have operations in many different cities. “Our penetration and share among the largest multinational and domestic corporates has grown, and continues expanding at a fast pace,” Pushkaraj Gumaste said. The tie-up has provided a “big boost to our ability to service remote area cash management,” he added in an interview last month.
Barclays featured more prominently in a Greenwich Associates survey of Indian companies last year as a go-to bank for cash management services, especially among consumer goods firms and non-bank financial institutions, said Gaurav Arora, the Singapore-based head of corporate and institutional banking for India at the research firm.
It contrasts with the U.K. bank’s retreat elsewhere in the region, which included the shutdown of its Asian cash equities operations as part of moves to shrink its investment bank in 2016, with the loss of 1,200 jobs worldwide. Barclays itself only has six branches in India, so agreement with India Post allows it to punch above its weight, offering account services to companies through a much larger network, Gumaste said.
By contrast State Bank of India, rated by Greenwich as among the top four local institutions for transaction banking services, has 22,584 branches. Citigroup Inc., the only foreign bank in the top four, has 35. Despite the more prominent mentions in the 2017 survey, Barclays wasn’t ranked by Greenwich. Barclays has had a branch presence in India since 1990. The majority of its 28,000 local employees work for its global technology and back-office operations.