Bank of Baroda, the fifth largest bank in India, is all set to open shop in four countries, including Trinidad and Tobago.
Kishore Kharat, managing director of Bank of Baroda, said in a press conference here that his bank received its provisional licence from the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago last February, and is expecting its final licence by the end of this month.
The other countries where it will open branches are Australia, Bahrain and Ghana.
Kharat said that he was not daunted by the robust presence of T&T's four major commercial banks First Citizens, Scotiabank, RBTT and Republic.
Kharat saw Bank of Baroda's 100 years banking experience and presence in 21 countries as a way to withstand any corporate onslaught.
"While the industry is vibrant, it is not mature. There is still tremendous scope to develop," Kharat said.
He had high praise for former Indian High Commissioner Virendra Gupta who initiated a series of two-way trade links between India, and T&T. He pointed out that while Indian trade fairs and cultural concerts are popular, Bank of Baroda will be a footprint that cements the relationship.
T&T's economic growth and stable government were the two motivating factors that brought the bank here, he said.
Customers will be offered full-fledged banking services complete with ATMs.
"The secret of our success is to tap into areas which are now untapped by the present market. These untapped segments are what we will be looking at in our business strategy," Kharat said.
Kharat recalled that he was in India when Trinidad's Minister of Trade and Industry Ken Valley led a business delegation there and handed over the provisional licence.
He recalled several challenges in the pathway to Bank of Baroda's success, but termed them "encouraging challenges...we are keeping ourselves at pace with development".
Bank of Baroda will focus on the middle-income group and small businesses. "If services grow, we will have to bring in more capital in the short term. I already realise that I will need to bring in more capital. We will start with expatriates at the senior level and have already employed local people. Our intention is to gradually have locals at all senior positions," he said.
In a philosophical tone, Kharat said that the bank would maintain its sustainability in the marketplace.
"I am looking forward to our operations. We have a really good opportunity. We want to establish ourselves as a friend. We are not competitors. We just want to enjoy business."
Kharat pointed out that one of his assignments on arrival here was a series of meetings with the chief executives of various banks.
Bank of Baroda was established in July 20, 1908, by the then Maharaja of Baroda Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad III in the princely state of Baroda, in Gujarat.
In India the bank has a network of over 2,800 branches and offices, and about 700 ATMs.