PNB files application to open branches in Pakistan

State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) has filed an application with the Reserve Bank of India for opening branches in Lahore and Karachi, while SBI and Bank of India have also expressed keenness to start Pakistan operations.

The branches of Indian banks in Pakistan would facilitate trade and commerce between the two countries.

The step also assumes significance in the backdrop of measures the two neighbouring countries have taken for the normalisation of bilateral trade.

PTI quoted an official as saying that bank regulators from both sides had met on the issue. He said he thought PNB had filed an application to open branches in Karachi and Lahore. He added State Bank of India and Bank of India had also evinced interest to start operations in Pakistan.

PNB had started its operations from Lahore in 1895, it later moved its headquarters to Delhi in 1947.

The banks would need to consider various aspects like financial viability and other issues while opening branches in Pakistan, the official said adding that a number of Pakistan banks were also interested in setting up branches in India.