Fifteen overseas banks have been in touch with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to open branches in India, the central bank informed the finance ministry. As per RBI Data, 46 foreign banks are already operating in India, including two banks operating in wholly-owned subsidiary (WOS) mode.
Foreign banks, except those operating in WOS mode, require prior approval of the RBI for opening branches in India. RBI has apprised that the foreign banks open their branches in India based on their commercial judgement.
What do the RBI norms say?
According to RBI norms, at least 25 percent of the total number of branches of banks operating in WOS mode opened during a financial year, must be opened in unbanked rural (Tier 5 and Tier 6) centres that do not have a brick and mortar structure of any scheduled commercial bank for customer-based banking transactions.
It is also mandatory for foreign banks to provide loans to farmers and scheduled castes/scheduled tribes for employment on the lines of Indian Banks. RBI has rules that foreign banks have to comply with RBI's extant priority sector guidelines. These guidelines provide for foreign banks with 20 branches and above to lend 40 percent of Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANBC) or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher to priority sector including lending to Weaker Sections including, inter-alia, scheduled castes/scheduled tribes.
SBM Bank (India) Limited (Subsidiary of SBM Group, Mauritius) and DBS Bank India Limited (Subsidiary of DBS Bank Ltd) were issued licence on December 6, 2017 and October 4, 2018 respectively for carrying on banking business in India through Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS) mode. They have commenced operations from December 01, 2018 and March 01, 2019 respectively.
The highest branches belong to Standard Chartered of 100 and CitiBank has 35 branches. HSBC has 26 branches. Deutsche Bank has 17. UK's Barclays Bank Plc has 6 branches.
(With agency inputs.)