State Bank of India (SBI) has an exposure of $5 million (Rs 24 crore) to the Lehman Brothers’ floating rate notes and this exposure was fully provided for in the books, said OP Bhatt, chairman, SBI. SBI’s global balance sheet size is $250 billion (or Rs 11,50,000 crore).
SBI will not be in a hurry to merge other banking subsidiaries with itself. It will do so only after studying various issues involved in the State Bank of Saurashtra (SBS) merger with itself. “We will not do it in a hurry. Merger is a fairly complicated process,” Bhatt said. SBS was merged with SBI on August 13, 2008. SBS had deposits worth Rs 15,216 crore and 461 branches.
State Bank of India is aiming to be one of the top 10 banks in the world. The largest bank in India is also open for foreign acquisitions in this process. “We are open to acquisitions abroad. But there is no bank on the radar as of now,” Bhatt said, while talking to reporters after the bank’s board meeting at Bhavnagar in Gujarat.
SBI is ranked 57th globally in terms of size, and entered the list of Fortune-500 companies (top 500 in the world) at 487th rank last year. However, the bank does not seek to increase the pace of global branch expansion from 4-5 branches a year.
The bank would add about 2,000 branches to its nearly 11,000 existing branches during the 2008-09. SBI added about 1,000 branches last fiscal, according to Bhatt.
Global financial turmoil will not affect the balance-sheets of Indian banks in anyway, said Arun Ramanathan, secretary –financial services, Union government.
“Its impact will be felt in India in the form of (negative) sentiment and movement of funds outside the country,” he added.