SBM Bank (India) Limited: First foreign bank to set up a Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS) in India

SBM Bank (India) Limited

SBM Group, a diversified financial services provider and the second largest listed banking institution on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius, announced the launch of SBM Bank (India) Limited which will operate as a full-fledged universal bank. SBM Bank (India) Limited becomes the first foreign bank in India to obtain a banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India to operate as a Wholly Owned Subsidiary.

The Honourable Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development​, Mr.  Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra, Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Cabinet Ministers from the Government of Mauritius, and other dignitaries were present at the inauguration event in Mumbai on 24th January 2019.

Under this new structure, SBM Bank (India) Limited plans to extend its network by end of March 2020 with four new branches focusing on  the mid-market segment comprising mid-corporate and higher end SMEs, as well as building its retail banking footprint. The Bank is targeting the creation of a healthy business and balance sheet and believes that quality assets of INR 5,000 crore can be achieved over the next 2 years. Established in 1994 in India, the Bank currently operates four branches in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ramachandrapuram.

As part of its distinctive offering, the Bank will provide support to Indian companies investing into Africa across their trade finance needs. SBM’s strong presence in Kenya and Mauritius enables facilitation of trade across the India-Africa trade corridor. In addition to its retail, corporate and trade finance capabilities, SBM offers a comprehensive range of services from capital markets to trading and stockbroking, asset management and custody services.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. K.C. LI KWONG WING, GOSK, Group Chairman, SBM Holdings Ltd said, “I am very excited and hopeful of this venture. This change in our Indian strategy to convert our operations into a Wholly Owned Subsidiary has as its main objective building greater proximity with our Indian clients. This banking licence to operate as a full-fledged universal bank complements our internationalisation strategy. Now with a bigger presence in Kenya through the acquisition of two local banks, SBM is able to accompany and facilitate trade and investment from India into Africa”

Mr. Sidharth Rath, MD & CEO, SBM Bank (India) Ltd said, “This is a historic event, which lays the foundation to set up a robust and sustainable universal banking franchise in the long run.  Our intent is to create a respected and admired financial institution which requires us to build a franchise which is nimble and agile, and at the same time a trusted service provider.”

About SBM Bank (India) Limited

SBM as a branch of SBM Bank (Mauritius) started its operation in India in 1994. The Bank currently operates four branches, namely in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ramachandrapuram. It plans to revamp its customer base and solutions offering in line with its growth strategy.

Besides establishing a robust domestic franchise in India, SBM Bank (India) expects to capitalize on the Group’s geographic network in East Africa and the Indian Ocean region to add value to customers. The Bank is poised to play an important role in growing trade and investment opportunities in these regions.

SBM Holdings Ltd

SBM Holdings Ltd is a financial holding company headquartered in Mauritius, and also holding entities in Kenya, India and Madagascar.  With a market capitalisation of around MUR 22 billion as at July 2018, SBM Group is engaged in banking, non-banking financial services as well as non-financial investments.

The banking and non-banking entities in Mauritius offer universal banking services – deposit, credit, payments, investment, advisory and ancillary services – across multiple channels, including digital, to a wide range of customer segments including Personal, High Net Worth, SME, Corporate, International and Financial Institutions. The Mauritius banking operation has domestic market shares of 23% in advances and 21% in deposits.

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Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.