SBI to open commercial branch in Bahrain next month

Mumbai: The State Bank of India (SBI) is planning to set up its first commercial branch in Bahrain in November as it expands operations in that country, U N Challu, general manager of SBI, said.

"We shall function like any other local bank and the services will include deposits, loans, trade finance, letter of credit and remittance services for non-resident Indians. We are not in competition with exchange companies, but in fact will play a complementary role," he said.

SBI, Challu said, would make an initial investment of $3 to develop the new branch, which would also include an on-site ATM. "This ATM will be connected to our other ATMs in the GCC as well as about 7,000 ATMs in India," he said.

"The Bahrain commercial branch is our second branch in the Gulf, after Muscat," he said adding that bank would now officially finance development projects in Bahrain.

SBI began its Bahrain operations 30 years ago, in 1976, with a representative office, which was upgraded to an offshore banking unit in 1977. It has now the status of headquarters of its Middle East, West Asia and North Africa operations.

SBI, meanwhile, informed the BSE that Yogesh Agarwal has been appointed as managing director on the board of the bank with effect from October 10, 2006 to June 30, 2010.