Oriental Bank plans expansion in UK, Hong Kong

After opening its first overseas branch last month, state-run Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) is planning to expand its global footprint further by opening offices in the UK and Hong Kong.

"The overseas expansion plan is at very initial stage but Hong Kong and the UK is on our radar," OBC executive director H Ratanakar Hegde told a news agency in New Delhi.

The bank plans to open a subsidiary in the UK and a full-service branch in Hong Kong to cater to a large non-resident population in these two countries and provide trade financing to Indian corporate houses from those locations, Hegde said.

The Delhi-based bank opened a representative branch in Dubai on March 30. With this, the bank has got its first overseas presence after being established in Lahore in 1943, he said.

On the domestic expansion front, Hegde said, the bank plans to open about 100 branches during the current fiscal. By the end of March 2010, the total branch network would cross 1,500, he said.

At the same time, the bank is also planning to recruit 2,000 staff during the current fiscal at various levels, he said, adding that the bank is already in the process of recruiting 1,838 people.

For the financial year ended 31 March 31 2009, OBC reported over two-fold growth in net profit at Rs906 crore. It had a net profit of Rs363 crore in fiscal 2008. The total income rose to Rs 9,927.79 crore during FY'09, from Rs 7,454.84 crore in the previous fiscal, while the total business of the bank increased by 25.72 per cent to Rs 1,67,434 crore at the end of March 2009.

"We expect business-mix to increase by 20-21 per cent during the current fiscal," he said. The bank aims to reach a business mix of Rs2,00,000 crore by the end of March 2010.