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21 june 2003

rupee firms up; gilts rise
mumbai: the rupee firmed up against the dollar on friday. it closed at 46.5400/5450.
on thursday, the domestic currency ended at 46.55/56.
the rupee opened higher, but shed its gains on account of purchase of dollars by state-run banks, said a forex dealer in a private bank.

strong rupee: fieo seeks rbi action
new delhi: the federation of indian export organisation (fieo) on friday urged the reserve bank of india to intervene "at this point" and bring about "parity and stability" in rupee exchange rate vis-a-vis the dollar.

changes in act soon to check home loan npas

bangalore: in a bid to pre-empt any build-up of non-performing assets (npa) in the housing loan segment, the government is expected to bring an amendment to the securitisation act passed late last year.

srei net up 26 pc; halves dividend to 10 pc
kolkata: srei international finance ltd (srei) has recorded a 26-per cent jump in net profit at rs 19.72 crore (rs 15.63 crore) for the year ended march 31, 2003.
announcing the annual results here on friday, mr hemant kanoria, managing director, said the total assets under management have jumped to rs 1,568 crore (rs 1,204 crore), registering an increase of 30 per cent. the board has recommended a dividend of re 1 per share (10 per cent) against the rs 2 per share (20 per cent) paid out last year. income from operations is up at rs 118.59 crore (rs 110.88 crore).

hudco sanctions rs 516.35 cr for n-e states
new delhi: housing and urban development corporation (hudco) has sanctioned loans to the tune of rs 516.35 crore for different infrastructure and housing schemes in the north-eastern states with assam cornering the bulk of the funding.

bajaj allianz to enter credit insurance biz
pune: bajaj allianz general insurance company ltd is planning to get into the credit insurance business, an area dominated by the export credit guarantee corporation. the company has also become the first insurance company to issue on-line issuance of marine certificates to customers from their own location itself.

om kotak's premium income up

bangalore: private life insurer om kotak mahindra said its premium income for fiscal 2003 were rs 40.32 crore, up from rs 7.65 a year ago, which was its maiden year in insurance foray.

cub keeping pace with changing trends

coimbatore: with just a couple of months to go to mark its birth centenary, the kumbakonam-based city union bank (cub) is gearing up to keep pace with the changing trends prevailing within the banking industry.
the bank, while upgrading itself on the technology front is embarking on a plan to widen its customer base and improve its market share in all areas of operation. "an image building exercise is on," mr s. balasubramanian, executive director, cub, said.

kuidfc to set up asset mgmt company

bangalore: the karnataka urban infrastructure development and finance corporation is to set up a separate asset management company from the refunds by civic agencies that had taken out loans from kuidfc. the proposed company - to be set up towards the end of the year - will use the funds for various urban development projects in the state, it is reported. about rs 40 crore of capital is already available and more is expected to accumulate once civic bodies such as the bangalore city corporation, the bmtc, the bwssb and the bda, make repayments.

20 june 2003

hdfc mf completes acquisition of zurich india schemes
new delhi: hdfc mutual fund, a joint venture between hdfc ltd and standard life investments ltd, uk, has completed the acquisition of the schemes of zurich india mutual fund. with this acquisition, hdfc mf is now one of the largest private mutual fund players in the country with a portfolio of over 19 investment products. announcing the completion of the acquisition on thursday, milind barve, managing director, hdfc mf, in a statement, said, "we will continue to focus on providing superior investment performance and customer service to investors and distributors of the erstwhile zurich india mutual fund. the new products added to our basket of schemes after acquisition will see a continuity of their investment styles." hdfc asset management company (amc) and zurich insurance company had signed an agreement in london on march 16 this year under which hdfc amc would stand to acquire the business of zurich india amc, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals.

madras hc set aside clb order in tmb case for now
chennai: the madras high court has temporarily set aside a company law board (clb) order granting veto powers to the nominee directors of central government over the other directors of tamilnad mercantile bank (tmb). however the court, in its interim order, has directed the tmb director board to seek prior permission of the clb while granting loans above rs 10 lakh.
hearing a petition filed by the nadar mahajana bank share investors forum, justice nv balasubramanian has granted an interim stay against the clb order which had stated that once the government nominees join the board of tmb, any decision taken by the board should have the consent of atleast two of the government nominees. "the direction given by the clb that two of the government nominated directors will have a veto power over the majority decisions taken by the board is 'prima facie' not sustainable," the order said. the bank should also place a resolution before the clb for granting loans above rs 10 lakh to any person whether individually or collectively after it is passed. the loan should be sanctioned after complying with the by-laws for the grant of loans without endangering the prospect of recovery of the loan, it added.

hdfc bank teams up with anb for remittance service
mumbai: hdfc bank on thursday launched an express remittance service to india in association with arab national bank (anb) of saudi arabia. this service is targetted at non-resident indians (nris) in saudi arabia, who are account holders of hdfc bank. the beneficiaries of the remittances also need to have accounts with hdfc bank. remittances will be managed through the telemoney remittence department of the anb. remittances to hdfc bank accounts in india will be credited in 24 hours, while a door-to-door remittance would be delivered within 48 hours for major indian cities, hdfc bank said in a statement. "this tie-up with arab national bank will ensure that customers get the best conversion rate and faster credit to their accounts, thereby giving customers value for their money," hdfc bank executive director harish engineer said. customers having an account with anb can transfer money through any of anb's 270 atms across saudi arabia, according to their convenience. nris residing in saudi arabia will be able to open accounts in hdfc bank through netbanking, and can use the bank's direct banking channels, such as the hdfc bank international debit card and phonebanking, to access their account from the kingdom, india or anywhere across the world, the statement said.

sbi gilts to merge with dfhi by august
kolkata: state bank of india (sbi) will merge two of its subsidiaries, sbi gilts ltd and discount & finance house of india (dfhi) by the end of august 2003, according to the sbi chairman, ak purwar. "we will merge sbi gilts with dfhi within a couple of months," purwar told reporters here on thursday. he was in kolkata to announce the annual results of the bank for the financial year to march 31, 2003. purwar said that since the operations of sbi gilts and dfhi are similar, the bank has decided to merge the two in order to take synergetic advantage of the experience and expertise of both these institutions. in 2002-03, dfhi became a subsidiary of sbi, with sbi and its other subsidiaries holding 58.8 per cent of dfhi's paid-up capital

gprs tech from idea cellular for bank atms
new delhi: idea cellular ltd has become the first cellular operator to power bank atms with 3g compatible general packet radio services (gprs) technology. according to a statement from the company, it has connected bank of punjab's automatic teller machines (atms) in delhi & ncr. currently, atm machines communicate with the bank's central computer using vsat technology, which needs interface with satellites in space. "idea gprs, on the other hand, is a wireless terrestrial technology, which is significantly more reliable and stable. under idea gprs, when a consumer uses an atm, the data is transmitted in a secure manner to the bank's central computer using idea cellular's mobile network," it states.

sbi plans new products for rib investors
kolkata: state bank of india has decided to work out new products to retain a section of those who had invested in resurgent india bonds (rib) which are expected to mature in the near future. the bank hopes to keep back around 30-40 per cent of the outgo which, inclusive of interest, is slated to stand at around rs 26,000 crore, said a. k. purwar, chairman of sbi. "we are looking at ways to attract a sizeable number of rib investors'', he told presspersons after declaring the bank's financial results for 2002-03. "this will be done with the help of certain new products, the details of which have not been finalised," he added. the country's largest commercial bank currently puts a premium on treasury operations, which have accounted for a critical part of its overall profitability. in fact, profits from such operations (which stand at rs 1,715 crore in 2002-03, up from rs 332 crore recorded in the previous year) are expected to grow in the years to come.

ifc to fund l&t's overseas growth plans
new delhi: the international finance corporation (ifc), the private sector lending arm of the world bank, has decided to provide a loan of $50 million to larsen & toubro (l&t) to facilitate its ongoing plans for expanding business in overseas markets, especially in africa, south-east asia and west asia. according to dimitris tsitsiragos, ifc's director for south asia, this financing "will establish a strong relationship between l&t and ifc and lead to long-term co-operation in a range of projects in different sectors, including infrastructure, oil and gas". on the larger impact of the loan, he said: "l&t's expansion plans will promote south-south co-operation and support regional economic development." commenting on the maiden loan from ifc for the purpose, y.m. deosthalee, chief financial officer (cfo) of l&t, said that the loan was a first step towards developing a long-term relationship with ifc, which is a "means to achieving our goal of becoming an indian multinational."

chamber plea for softer approach to export credit
new delhi: the phd chamber of commerce and industry (phdcci) has suggested that banks should not insist on collateral security while granting export credit to genuine exporters with confirmed letter of credit. in a discussion paper for the forthcoming `bankers-borrowers meet', the chamber has said that exporters with confirmed export orders backed with irrevocable letter of credit (l/c) are experiencing "serious impediments" in getting export credit from banks, both at pre-shipment and post-shipment stage, if such exporters are not giving any collateral to the banks. "banks should adopt positive and flexible approach in export finance and should have soft corner for new entrepreneur/ssi units in the interest of export promotion," the phdcci paper said.
further, the chamber said that ssi units should not be charged a pre-shipment or post-shipment export finance rate of over libor+1 per cent.

icici bank ties up with trinethra
hyderabad: keeping in view the increase in the use of co-branded credit cards the world over, icici bank is exploring ways to launch such cards joining hands with several service providers. the bank, which offers co-branded cards in association with hpcl, bpl mobile and amway, has tied up with trinethra super market, which has a chain of 62 retail outlets across andhra pradesh, to unveil its fourth co-branded card. the fact that 25 per cent of all the credit cards in circulation globally were co-branded showed how significant the concept was, v. vaidyanathan, senior general manager and head (retail asset product group), icici bank, said. addressing a news conference after launching the card, he said of the 1.2 million icici bank's credit cards, about 3.5 lakh were co-branded. the co-branded card launched on thursday is a variant of the bank's international sterling silver card.

19 june 2003

indusind to tap forex derivatives
mumbai: with interest rates having perhaps bottomed out and trading incomes from the debt markets - the major contributor to banks' profitability over the last two years - set to decline, indusind bank plans to increase its focus on the foreign exchange business in the current year. "the bank earned about rs 15.5 crore from the forex business for the year ended march 31, 2003 and plans to more than double it in the current year. we will go beyond plain vanilla products and focus on derivative products," said bhaskar ghose, managing director, indusind bank. this would include a whole suite of new, sophisticated and little-known products which were used for hedging foreign exchange exposures of corporates such as interest rate, currency and cross currency swaps and currency options.

stanchart posts rs 848 cr net
mumbai: standard chartered bank (stanchart) has posted a net profit of rs 848.3 crore. while the net income stood at rs 1,694 crore, the cost-income ratio is at 34 per cent. the result figures are not comparable to the previous fiscal as stanchart was officially merged with anz grindlays in october 2002. in 2001-02, stanchart had posted a net profit, while anz grindlays had reported a net loss. said stanchart ceo christopher low: "the bank's results have given a clear indication that the grindlays' integration has been a success. there has been excellent growth in our consumer banking segment, with the launch of new products and services in transactional banking and supply chain financing. total assets of the bank were rs 29,300 crore and the ratio of non-performing assets (npas) to net advances stood at 0.31 per cent. low added: "the highlight of the year was the control of risk, with asset quality remaining strong."

finmin, rbi firming up tin to plug tax evasion
new delhi: the finance ministry (finmin) and reserve bank plan to put in place a tax information network (tin) proposed by the kelkar task force, in a bid to improve tax administration and check evasion. a high-powered committee, comprising officials from finmin and rbi, is working on tin and a framework would be finalised within this fiscal, official sources said here on wednesday. the central board of direct taxes has taken up the project with rbi to modernise tax administration in line with that suggested last year by the task force under vijay kelkar, advisor to finance minister jaswant singh. when contacted, rbi officials said this is one of the most important projects and would require the use of latest technology blended with financial acumen. the proposed tin system will be capable of assessing the tax deducted at source (tds) of all tax payers, processing advance tax collection and facilitating refunds.

iob plans to seek shareholders' nod for rs 100 cr ipo
new delhi: indian overseas bank (iob) plans to return government equity worth rs 75 crore and raise rs 100 crore from the capital market, for which it will seek shareholders' approval on july 18. the bank has decided to return to government 7.5 crore equity shares of face value rs 10 each, subject to necessary approval of the finance ministry, iob officials said here on wednesday. the ministry is in the process of deciding whether to attach a premium on the equity returned by psu banks. the chennai-based bank may return the equity in one or more tranches as agreed by the government. iob officials said the bank plans to raise rs 100 crore through a public offer to raise capital base to rs 545 crore. it has kept options open for preferential issue also. this would be iob's second ipo. it tapped the market first in 2000 to offload 25 per cent of government holding.

aa rated paper finds favour with banks
mumbai: a number of psu banks that had shied away from investing in "aa" (double a) rated papers are now being tempted by the better yields this segment offers compared to government securities (g-secs). bankers admit that despite their conservative approach to investments in the past where a higher credit rating is mandatory, they now have an increased appetite for double a rated paper in the wake of triple a rated papers thinning out from the market. according to a senior psu bank official, triple a rated papers are no longer available in bulk quantities, with issuers buying back their issues as they can raise cheaper funds through the ecb route. he says the issuance of double a rated papers is expected to gather momentum in the near term. about two weeks back, ashok leyland raised rs 25 crore through double a rated paper and the issue was picked up entirely by a public sector bank at the rate of 6.20 per cent. bankers contend that the added attraction is that the yield on some of these papers is 25 basis points higher than the g-sec bonds of the same tenors, thus enabling better spreads.

boi networking all branches in kerala
thiruvanathapuram: all 26 branches of bank of india (boi) in the state are in the process of being interconnected to provide multi-branch banking (mbb) services through multiple delivery channels. omnienterprise financial transaction switch of the mumbai-based infrasoft technologies, a leading global banking and financial solutions company, has been used by boi for the purpose. boi has already inter-connected 275 braches nationwide and 450 branches are being included in the boi mbb network in the phase-ii. soon boi will be able to offer customers networked atm transactions, internet banking, phone and fax banking, mobile banking, funds transfer, clearing and any branch banking over-the-counter, irrespective of the location of the account of the customers in kerala and other cities of india.

western union ties up with afl wiz
chennai: western union financial services international, which has a liaison office in india, has tied up with the mumbai-based afl wiz for home delivery of remitted money. afl wiz, already an agent of western union, is one of the larger courier companies in india. alf would home-deliver the remitted money at no extra charge, s ranganathan, general manager, alf wiz, said at a press conference here

amp sanmar ties up with ap govt to tap rural mkt
hyderabad: in a unique development, amp sanmar assurance company ltd (amp sanmar) has joined hands with the andhra pradesh government to sell its products in the rural markets while providing employment opportunity to the rural unemployed youth. to this effect, an mou was signed here on wednesday between the company and the directorate of youth services, ap government, to create more jobs in the form of 'insurance advisors or agents' in the state. as per the agreement, amp sanmar would adopt four districts of karimnagar, kurnool, nellore and east godavari initially to train unemployed youths, offered by the directorate of youth services, as insurance advisors for 15 days. while the company would select candidates and train them as per regulations, the state government will provide the infrastructure and facilities in the districts. the training programme including the faculty and course materials will be supplied by amp sanmar. following training, they will be recruited as agents (those successful in getting the agent's license issued by irda) paid a stipend of rs 500 a month for a period of six months. this will be in addition to the commission paid on policies sold by them, amp sanmar head (marketing) s balachander said.

fitch places l&t holdings' ncd rating under watch
mumbai: fitch ratings india has placed the aa+ (ind) (so) rating assigned to l&t holding ltd's (lthl) rs 50 crore non-convertible debenture programme on "watch with evolving implications." the rating is supported by an irrevocable and unconditional guarantee from larsen and toubro ltd (l&t) and this action follows the decision of l&t to demerge its cement business into a new company, fitch said in a release here on wednesday. fitch is monitoring the developments and is in discussions with the company regarding the implications, it added. lthl was incorporated in fy01 as a 100 per cent subsidiary of l&t to invest in non-power related infrastructure projects.

cbdt, cbec asked to submit views on transfer policy report
new delhi: the central board of direct taxes (cbdt) and the central board of excise and customs (cbec) have been asked by revenue secretary vineeta rai, to submit their views on the report on transfer policy drafted by advisor to finance minister, vijay kelkar. the kelkar report on transfers states that the new policy in its entirety will come into effect from the next financial year but the broad guidelines should be implemented from this year. the draft transfer policy largely concentrates on the creation of a database, formation of placement committee for policy implementation, grievance redressal mechanism, classification of station and tenure of stay in different stations, posting policy for officers of different ranks, policy to consider different compassionate issue and transition management. the most important reccomendations pertain to the institutional mechanism of forming 'irs placement panel' and the setting up of 'redressal mechanism' outside the revenue boards. unlike the present system of chairman-centric transfer exercise, the new committee should comprise the chairman, all the members, a non-irs officer of not below the rank of additional secretary to be nominated by the finance minister and the joint secretary (administration) who could be the secretary to the committee.

citibank to offer lower interest for pbap homes
pune: the raging competition in the housing finance market is forcing foreign banks to open up. in a first of its kind agreement, citibank is going to offer flat buyers a concessional interest rate if they buy flats from a member of the promoters & builders association of poona (pbap). the differentials range from 0.25 per cent to 0.75 per cent. the loan would be only for pbap listed developers, pbap president pa inamdar said. a pbap member project assures quality control and timely possession, he added. pbap managing committee member rohit gera said any loan carried a risk of default and in case of housing finance there was an additional risk as financing was mostly done for projects that were under construction where there were possibilities of the property not being built as promised.

18 june 2003

lic scheme for khadi workers approved
new delhi: the expenditure finance committee (efc) of the ministry of agro and rural industries has approved the implementation of the `janashree arogya bima yojna' (jaby) of the life insurance corporation (lic) which is to provide insurance to khadi workers. the proposal is likely to see an expenditure of about rs 50.05 crore during the financial years 2003-04 to 2006-07 during the tenth plan period and the financial year 2007-08 during the eleventh plan period for implementing the scheme. official sources indicated that the contribution of the centre and the khadi and village industries commission (kvic) will be rs 8.14 crore of the total expenditure. the introduction of the package is part of the recommendations made by a high-powered committee headed by the deputy chairman of the planning commission, k.c. pant. on the basis of the recommendations of the pant committee, the government announced a package of incentives in may 2001 for the development of the kvi sector in the country. the starting of an insurance scheme for the khadi workers is part of the package.

mahesh bank expresses optimism on ucb future
hyderabad: contrary to the popular belief on the uncertain future of urban co-operative banks (ucbs) in andhra pradesh, mahesh bank is quite optimistic of the growth of co-operative urban banking industry and hopes that it would successfully overcome the current crisis. stating that one need not be pessimistic about the future of ucbs in view of recent serial debacles of banks in the state, the chairman of mahesh bank, b.n. rathi, said integrity and transparency in managing the co-operative banks would ensure that it came out of the prevailing crisis and regain its past glory. addressing a gathering of clients and depositors on the eve of shifting of the bank's ameerpet branch into new premises here on monday, rathi said, "indian banking industry has been and is being nurtured and nourished by way of ideas, guidance and support by a galaxy of luminaries of the indian finance world. men may come, men may go, but the institutions stay for ever."

union bank sees 30-pc jump in operating profit
mumbai: union bank of india is expecting a 30-per cent increase in operating profit in the current fiscal, from rs 1,304 crore in the previous financial year, according to v. leeladhar, chairman and managing director, union bank of india. addressing shareholders at the bank's first annual general meeting after its public issue in august 2002, leeladhar said, that the bank would focus on asset resolution in the future and would concentrate on recoveries, consolidation and restructuring of large accounts. leeladhar said that the bank had no immediate plans of returning equity to the government. uboi had obtained an in-principle approval for returning capital to the tune of rs 58 crore last year.

indusind bank to compensate client depository
kochi: the consumer disputes redressal forum here has directed the ernakulam branch of indusind bank ltd to refund the enhanced charges realised from a depository account holder for offering dp services. the forum passed the order on a complaint filed by d. nandakumar, a chief engineer in fact, challenging the decision of the bank to change unilaterally the rate structure for the purpose of offering the depository services to him. the forum also allowed the petition with a cost of rs 500 to the complainant towards court expenses. ``on perusal of documents and hearing the complaint in detail, we are of the opinion that there is some deficiency in service of the opposite parties. the complainant is entitled to the enhanced changes realised on the depository accounts before february 2002," the forum comprising k. radhakrishnan, president, and members ninu kuttymoosa and k.n. radhakrishnan, said.

centurion egm okays new team, merger
mumbai: the shareholders of centurion bank have approved the induction of a new management team led by sabre capital worldwide, the amalgamation with bank muscat and the recapitalisation proposal at an extraordinary general meeting held on june 14, 2003 at goa, the registered office of the bank. the results of the meeting had been filed at the goa bench of the bombay high court and is expected to receive a final order in 15 days time, said a senior official in the bank. the court will now notify the registrar of companies to seek its permission on the matter.

syndicate bank's housing loan awareness camp
mangalore: syndicate bank conducted a programme on housing loan scheme called `syndnivas'. it was conducted by the bank's mangalore regional office. the housing loan awareness camp was held at the bank's belthangady branch and covered its branches in the belthangady taluk of dakshina kannada district. according to a press release, the bank's regional manager, m.m. mallya, hasstated that the new `syndnivas' housing loan scheme - with `attractive reduced interest rates' - has been launched for the benefit of middle and lower middle class people.

hdfc mops up rs 100 crore
mumbai: the housing development and finance corporation (hdfc) on tuesday mobilised rs 100 crore from the market at an interest rate of 5.40 per cent per annum. the funds were mobilised through privately placed non-convertible debentures (ncd) with one-year maturity. the deal was struck last week, but the funds were realised today, hdfc general manager (treasury) conrad d'souza, told the press person. hdfc issued the secured redeemable debentures of rs 10 lakh each aggregating rs 100 crore. debentures would be redeemed at the end of the one year tenure on june 16, 2004, it added. this is the second time that hdfc has hit the market for mobilising funds within a fortnight's time. it had recently mopped up another rs 250 crore from the market at a coupon rate of 5.82 per cent, issuing a five-year ncd.

icici bank offers vrs option
mumbai: within a year of the reverse merger of the erstwhile icici ltd with icici bank, the second largest bank in the country with a total staff strength of 11,000 has decided to offer an early retirement option (ero) to its employees. all staffers are eligible for this option except full-time directors of the bank. the bank has also decided to abolish the post of joint managing director after the retirement of mr hn sinor from the post. icici bank's executive director kalpana morporia said the early retirement option had been launched for "meeting the demands of the employees and there is no downsizing of its employees". the move would be simultaneously followed by a recruitment drive by the bank as it is opening 60 branches in the current fiscal. "the replacement would be at the ratio of 3:2 and the overall staff strength would be maintained at the earlier level", she said. the retirement option would be available to those who have completed 40 years of age and seven years of service with the bank, including in those entities which have merged with the bank.

om kotak mahindra to kick off new pension plan shortly
hyderabad: om kotak mahindra life insurance company ltd is in the process of launching a new annuity policy having more options targeting those persons retiring in about one or two years from now. company vice-president (marketing) ashutosh bishnoi said: "the new product is under research and expected to be launched in september or october during the current year." he was here on tuesday in connection with the launch of kotak safe investment plan, which offers safety of capital, with high returns while protecting the investor from downside losses. the pension payment will commence almost immediately in case of the proposed annuity policy, he added. the company now offers annuity policies where the payment will be after a stipulated period. the premium paid will be converted into units and invested in any one or a combination of four professionally managed funds selected by the policyholder-money market, gilt, balanced, growth funds. on maturity the policyholder will receive either the sum assured or the market value of the units, whichever is higher.

centre puts lic's subsidised pension scheme on hold
mumbai: last minute intervention from the big bosses of the finance ministry let loose confusion over the launch of the life insurance corporation's varishtha pension scheme, the centre's subsidised pension scheme offering nine per cent return on tuesday. the corporation which was all set to kickstart the sale of the the much awaited business stood embarrassed and had to postpone the launch of the scheme without giving any proper reason and or announcing a future date for the launch. "we had completed all formalities seeking clearances from the ministry of finance and insurance regulatory and development authority and obviously there was no lapse on our part while announcing the launch of the scheme" said sources in lic. "it might be that the bosses in the ministry wants to launch the scheme either by the fm or pm as a populist measure when the election is round the corner", sources added. the scheme which was announced by finance minister jaswant singh in his budgetary speech with much fanfare on february 28 was already overdue for its launch. lic was scheduled to begin its business for this scheme on tuesday.

dcb set to position itself as mainstream, modern pvt bank
mumbai: the development credit bank (dcb) is marching aggressively towards its objective of becoming a mainstream and modern private sector bank. the bank is working on executing a set of initiatives including a communication and marketing exercise to carve a niche for itself in the competitive marketplace. "the exercise will strive to create awareness about the content and spirit of the bank's punchline old fashioned banking: new fashioned technology", dcb head (personal financial services) sandeep mookerjee said. the bank will focus on the upper segment of the public sector banks' customers. "this segment offers great opportunity as majority of them want technology and services of foreign banks and at the same time do not want to lose positive attributes of banking with public sector banks," he said. dcb is also set to launch its debit card soon, with affiliation from both global payment facilitators visa and mastercard. the bank will provide a lot of incentives to customers such as services on discount etc to encourage the uses of cards.

17 june 2003

asian currency union can be forum of central banks: jalan
bangalore: reserve bank of india governor bimal jalan said the asian currency union (acu) could become a non-political forum of central banks in the region to discuss the issues of economic cooperation and exchange rate management. addressing the 32 acu board meeting here on monday, dr jalan said: "the union could become a strong and non-political forum of central banks in the region to discuss issues relating to economic co-operation among member countries within the acu mechanism." besides, dr jalan suggested cooperation in "areas like exchange rate management and foreign exchange reserve management with a view to evolving appropriate approaches to resolving technical issues." stressing the need for expansion of acu, dr jalan, however, made it clear that new members would come to the organisation only if they found it beneficial to them. quoting from suggestions made by a technical acu committee with assistance from escap and unctad, dr jalan said "the committee has pointed out that neighbouring countries would join the mechanism only if they are convinced of the benefits they could derive from the membership. it is, therefore, necessary to make the acu mechanism more efficient in the first instance and enhance the volume of trade routed through the arrangement."

western union plans expansion in gulf
hyderabad: in a bid to have larger market share in the $10 billion indian remittance market, the us-based western union financial services, a money transfer service provider, has proposed to expand its branch network in the gulf countries. "we need to expand our branch network in the gulf countries to garner a market share of 15 to 20 per cent of the money being transferred into india from gulf countries," anil kapur, regional director south asia of western union, told the media here on monday. for example the company has just 35 branches in saudi arabia, whereas in india it has considerable presence with 1,35,000 agent location covering about 1,500 cities, he added. according to market estimates, the money being remitted into india from gulf countries, especially from countries like uae and saudi arabia, will account for over 60 per cent of the total money remittances from nris.

kapur is in hyderabad in connection with the opening of hyderabad branch of its agent paul merchants ltd. he said that the company has grown faster in india with 71 per cent growth in revenues and 89 per cent growth in the number of transfers.

hsbc brings aussie coach to give indians a pep talk
mumbai: hsbc india is bringing in the australian cricket team coach john buchanan, to india to give a lecture on "managing champion teams". the lecture series will be hosted in four cities - new delhi, mumbai, bangalore and kolkata, between 20 and 27 june. this will be the first time that he will lecture in india." said hsbc india ceo niall sk booker: "clearly there are similarities between successes in sport and in the business world. over the last five years, no team in world cricket has been more successful than australia and we thought, given the popularity of cricket in india, it would be interesting and instructive to hear john buchanan's views on the ingredients that go onto making a successful team."

united western net up 6.7 per cent
mumbai: the satara-based united western bank has posted a 3.5 per cent increase in net profit for the fourth quarter ended march 31, 2003 at rs 12.66 crore up from rs 12.23 crore in the corresponding period in the previous year. for the full year, the private sector bank registered a 6.7 per cent increase in net profit at rs 27.51 crore as compared to rs 25.76 crore in the previous year.

the bank had focussed more on computerisation of branches and recovery of npas, said satish marathe, chairman & chief executive of the bank, at a press conference held here on monday. marathe was appointed in january 2003 to replace s.t. gadre who was sacked by rbi. the bank plans to computerise 65 of its branches in the current year. as part of its npa recovery plan, it had filed 280 cases before the debt recovery tribunal and recovered loans worth rs 58 crore in the previous year, said marathe.

rbi to inspect bank chests
kolkata: the reserve bank of india is to shortly start inspection of currency chests of various banks, including state bank of india, to detect soiled notes in stapled condition. the inspection follows the report that several banks, instead of remitting the soiled notes in unstapled condition to rbi, continue to hold them in stapled condition in their currency chests. this is in violation of the rbi's order.the banks are worried at the rbi move. the existence of stapled notes in the chests, if detected by the rbi team may have some adverse consequences. the licence of the chests might be cancelled. the staff concerned might be made accountable.

sbi mutual to ride on parent's network
kolkata: sbi mutual fund is making fresh moves to ride on state bank of india's branch network. there are efforts to tie up with the associates of the parent bank as well. the fund, now being overseen by a set of new office-bearers, has proposed to use sbi's reach for distributing its products to a wider section of investors, both corporates and individuals. sbi mf specifically plans to tap sbi's personal banking infrastructure in an effective manner, say sources familiar with the development. recent years have seen personal banking branches grow in stature within the sbi fold. these have lately emerged as repositories of money for high net worth individuals. the mf, besides relying on distributors, currently operates through a chain of investment service centres (iscs). these iscs, based in the more important cities as well as at such smaller centres as siliguri, bhilai and ernakulam, are supported by a number of district-level organisers.

accbank selects flexcube
bangalore: ireland-based accbank has selected i-flex solutions as its banking solution provider. accbank will implement i-flex's flagship product flexcube for its banking operations. the selection of flexcube was based on the scalability and reliability of the solution, said a company press release. the bank would now have the flexibility to fine-tune and expand its products and services, and provide a range of services for their customers in the business (sme), personal and agri-based sectors, the release said.

16 june 2003

insurers may have to meet quotas
mumbai: the centre is contemplating to fix a quota for private insurance companies in a bid to ensure that they fulfil commitments in offering services in the hitherto avoided sectors such as motor vehicle insurance, and a minimum share in rural business by each company, union minister of state for finance anandrao adsul said.

rbi ban on loans to urban co-op directors draws flak
new delhi: urban co-operative banks (ucbs) have criticised the reserve bank of india's recent move banning them from extending any loans and advances to directors, their relatives and associated concerns. "it is a knee-jerk reaction to isolated cases of bank failures caused by flagrant violation of lending norms laid down by the rbi. what is needed is proper enforcement of these norms, not an outright ban on loans to directors, which goes against the fundamental principles of co-operation", d. krishna, chief executive, national federation of ucbs and credit societies (nafcub), said.

gic sees growth abroad
chennai: the general insurance corporation of india intends to expand its operations overseas, for growth. the present domestic and international conditions provided the national reinsurer with both a need and an imperative, to go abroad for business, according to p.b. ramanujam, managing director, gic. gic, with a net worth of around rs 3,000 crore, can do business of rs 10,000 crore (sum assured). against this, it does around rs 3,500 crore, of which rs 500 crore comes from its overseas operations. gic therefore has capacities, at a time when there is a shortage of capacities globally. krishna said that the rbi had in its directive, dated may 26, 1994, fixed a cap on aggregate loans and advances (both secured and unsecured) to all directors, their relatives and concerns in which they were interested at 10 per cent of the ucb's net demand and time liabilities (ndtl). through a subsequent directive, dated december 4, 2002, this ceiling was brought down to five per cent. it was also prescribed no single borrower could avail himself of loans exceeding 25 per cent of the bank's net-owned funds (share capital and reserves).

kfc top priority to cut npas to 40 pc

thiruvanathapuram: as part of its efforts to refurbish the balance sheet and ramp up the performance, the kerala financial corporation (kfc) is giving top priority to reducing the non-performing assets (npas) level and improving the customer service. the corporation has targeted to pare down the npa from 56 per cent as of now to 40 per cent in the current year, according to subrata biswas, managing director. while the provisioning for npa was at rs 29 crore in 2001-02, it came down to rs 6 crore last year. he told that kfc, which enjoyed a good credit rating, was in line to get a package from the small industries development bank of india (sidbi). this would be in the form of a reduction in interest rates on future loans. the interest on outstanding loans was also likely to be brought down, he said and added that the package was being extended to only select state financial corporations (sfcs). he said the corporation maintained a very good track record in repayments to idbi and sidbi. if required, it can go to the market or commercial banks to raise funds. last year, the tourism and hospitality sector got 45 per cent of the total sanctions made by the corporation. this included loans of up to 90 per cent extended for modernisation and expansion of hotels and resorts. a "revolving fund" was also devised to give short-term assistance to the clientele.

netravati bank programme on self-help groups
mangalore: netravati grameena bank, one of the regional rural banks sponsored by syndicate bank, recently conducted a `sensitisation programme' on self-help groups (shgs) for its branch managers. the programme was organised in collaboration with syndicate institute of rural entrepreneurship development of manipal. according to a press release, the netravati bank chairman, mr n. srinivasan, stressed the need to increase the credit linkage of shgs in tune with `national priorities' and called upon branch managers to promote shgs. dr venugopal arikeri of nabard, mangalore, also participated in the programme and is said to have explained in detail issues related to shg financing. according to dr arikeri, shgs should be viewed not only as means to uplift the poor but also as `viable business opportunities'.

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