State Bank of India
PSU banks at risk of rating downgrades on rising bad loan provisions: S&P. Picture: A customer walks out of a State Bank of India (SBI) branch in Mumbai March 31, 2015Reuters

Tata Sons is reportedly stepping up efforts to ensure that its group companies successfully bid for GE Capital's stake in SBI Cards worth Rs 2,000 crore. Tata Capital and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) are jointly bidding to buy the stake.

Bombay House, headquarters of India's largest business house Tata Group, is "working on a bid" that integrates the potential of its non-banking finance company (NBFC) Tata Capital and software unit TCS.

"Tata Sons has put its weight behind this move because it has identified financial services as a key growth area," a source familiar with the Tata Group's plans, told Business Standard.

In April, the New York-based GE decided to sell most of GE Capital assets, as a part of its plans to exit financial services completely.

"GE Capital wants to exit the business completely, so the bidder has to acquire not only its stakes in the front-end business but also in the back-end company," the source added.

For its credit card business, the State Bank of India (SBI) had announced a tie-up with GE Capital in 1998. The business is run through two joint ventures, SBI Cards & Payment Services and GE Capital Business Process Management Services Ltd. GE holds 40% stake in the former and 60% in the latter.

While SBI Cards & Payment Services is responsible for marketing and distribution of credit cards, GE Capital Business Process Management Services Ltd handles technology and processing through its captive BPO unit.

Acquiring GE's stake in SBI will give a major boost to Tata Capital , as its card business operates on the SBI Cards platform. Also, TCS is the technology services provider for SBI's core banking platform and other value-added services.

"The combined strength of Tata Capital and TCS has made the Tata Group a front runner for the stake," said an investment banker.

SBI Cards posted a net profit of Rs 300 crore for the fiscal year ending March 2015.

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