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Saturday, May 25, 2013

RBS India to shut 7 branches and restructure retail, commercial banking business

Royal Bank of Scotland on Friday said it will shut seven bank branches to consolidate its retail and commercial banking business in the country. The winding down of the bank's retail and small and medium enterprises business was announced in November 2012.

The bank's retail and commercial banking assets could be to the tune of Rs3,000 crore. As a apart of the restructuring exercise the bank is also considering sale of these assets to some domestic and foreign banks. Romesh Sobti-led IndusInd Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Axis Bank are among suitors. However, RBS has not offered any comment on the possible sale of assets.

``RBS Group will maintain a predominantly deposit-led general banking presence alongside its international banking business. From the present 31 branches, the branch network will be consolidated into 8 major business hubs-- Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad and Vadodara,'' said the bank in a statement. ``In the first phase, RBS will close the following 7 branches, namely, Agra, Jodhpur, Jalandhar, Kolhapur, Mangalore, Shastri Park (Delhi) and Udaipur,'' said the bank.

The restructuring could lead to job losses as well. RBS has not offered any estimate of the possible job loss. According to senior bank officials the bank employs about 500 executives.

RBS got the Indian assets of ABN as part of a three-way split of the Dutch bank after it was acquired along with Santander of Spain and Fortis of Belgium. India represents a small part of RBS' global business, accounting for just 0.02% of group assets and about half-a-percent of its non-core business

The British bank had sought to divest its retail and commercial banking business in 2010 at a regional level following a restructuring of the bank's business internationally after the global financial crisis. The decision to restructure the business follows HSBC's decision to scrap a deal to buy RBS' India assets after the central bank put a spoke in the transaction. Prior to that, Australia and New Zealand Banking Corp, which bought its assets in rest of Asia, opted out of the India deal, citing regulatory obstacles.

The central bank, which had given a conditional clearance to HSBC, was hesitant to approve transfer all the branch licences to the acquiring bank, since it is also bound by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) limit of 12 branches a year for international banks.

The bank will continue to run its corporate and institutional business or its private banking businesses in India.

Source: Economictimes


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