Bank of India opens first South African branch

Leading public sector lender, Bank of India (BOI), opened its first branch in South Africa in Johannesburg yesterday, expanding its presence in the African continent.

BOI already had an office in South Africa for the past five years which has now been promoted to a full-fledged branch.

''Africa has, for long, has been our favoured continent and upgrading our representative office of the past five years to branch banking in South Africa is one more step in that direction,'' BOI chairman Alok Misra said at the opening ceremony in Sandton, the city's financial hub.

South African Reserve Bank's deputy registrar Nkosana Mashiya, who was also present in the inaugural function said, ''We are quite grateful for the confidence that (the Indian) government and business continues to show in the South African economy and of the South African banking system in particular.''

Mumbai-based BOI is one of India's largest banks with 4038 branches in India besides having 29 branches / offices, three subsidiaries and a joint venture operation abroad.

In Africa, the bank has presence in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and it plans to open an office in Botswana in two month's time and also more offices in few other countries in West and East Africa due course, according to the chairman.