Doha Bank seeks licence again from RBI | india | Hindustan Times
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Doha Bank seeks licence again from RBI

Doha Bank, one of the largest lenders in the Middle East, is keen to enter the Indian market. Mahua Venkatesh reports.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2011 20:03 IST
Mahua Venkatesh

Doha Bank, one of the largest lenders in the Middle East, is keen to enter the Indian market. The bank was among the few ones that had applied for a license in 2005. “This is the second time that we have applied for a banking license and we are hopeful, especially as several Indian banks are operating in the Gulf region and this supports the reciprocity model which the Reserve Bank of India may keep in mind while granting licenses,” R Seetharaman, CEO, Doha Bank told Hindustan Times.

Foreign banks of certain countries, which allow Indian banks to operate, are likely to be given priority while granting licences.

The RBI guidelines are expected to be issued in the next few weeks. The bank already caters to a large section of the Indian population residing in the Gulf region. “Despite the financial crisis in a few middle east markets including Dubai, remittances have continued to grow and the Middle-East continues to be the largest contributor,” Seetharaman said.

Several other Wall Street investment banking icons including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Rabo have also applied for banking licences with the RBI. The central bank set up a panel to screen the applications and check the track records and credentials before granting licences. “The banks that finally are granted the licenses to operate in India would be treated on par with the Indian banks,” an RBI official said.

During the first phase (2005-09), foreign banks that wanted to establish presence in India could either choose to operate through a branch or set up a wholly-owned subsidiary (WOS). Foreign banks that were already present in India were allowed to convert their existing branches to a WOS following the one-mode presence criterion, the RBI said.

The RBI was slated to revise the guidelines on foreign banks in April 2009. However, RBI deferred its plan due to the global financial crisis.