HDFC Bank opens first international branch in Bahrain

October 23rd, 2008 - 2:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Oct 23 (IANS) India’s leading private bank, HDFC Bank, has opened its first full-fledged overseas commercial branch at a new financial district in Bahrain.Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Governor Rasheed Al Maraj inaugurated the new branch on the 49th floor of the Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) Wednesday.

BFH is a fully integrated waterfront development designed to create a complete financial city in the centre of the Bahraini capital Manama.

“The HDFC presence in Bahrain will further consolidate our economic relations with India,” Al Maraj was quoted by the media here as saying at the function.

“Already there are a few Indian banks in Bahrain, and one more big Indian financial institution will establish its presence in Bahrain very shortly,” he added.

The new branch will offer cash management and trade finance solutions for corporate clients and wealth management services for expatriate Indians.

Bahrain is home to around 290,000 expatriate Indians.

“To begin with, we will confine ourselves to short-term trade for Indian companies on a matched basis to the tune of approximately $65 million besides high net worth advisory,” HDFC Bank managing director Aditya Puri stated.

“We also intend to provide appropriate wealth management advice to those who have taken a beating in the current global turmoil,” he said, adding that the bank did not rule out foraying into the retail and brokerage sectors in that Gulf nation.

According to Puri, because of increased bilateral relations between the Gulf nations and India, it was logical for HDFC Bank to start its international operations with Bahrain as the first step.

A survey by leading Indian industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) showed bilateral trade between India and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) jumped four times in the last five years to reach $22.5 billion in the fiscal year ending March 2007.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) comprise the GCC.

Puri cited four reasons for the bank choosing Bahrain: its excellent location, clean, open and transparent regulations, cost-effectiveness, and good bilateral relations between India and Bahrain.

In India, the bank has a network of 1,412 branches across 528 cities.

The bank announced Oct 16 that it posted net profits of Rs.5.29 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2008-09 against Rs.3.68 billion in the same period last year.

The total income increased to Rs.46.34 billion during the July-September period from Rs.28.45 billion in the second quarter of 2007.

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