The State Bank of India (SBI) is investing in accommodation-based property in Singapore, ensuring higher grade housing requirements of its expatriate
staff, a media report said on Tuesday.
The apartment purchases should help reduce rental costs by 20 to 25% within the next three years, SBI Singapore chief executive and country head Anil Kishora sqaid.
"It will stabilise our cost base. In some sense, it would insulate us from any future increases in pricing, as we won't be paying any rentals," Kishora said, adding that buying property also helps to boost productivity.
According to the report, SBI would want to purchase at least 10 to 20 more units to house staff as it ramps up its local presence.
SBI had recently advertised for purchasing high grade apartments, ranging from 1,100 to 1,400 sq ft in size, near to main schools and rail-based transit systems.
It provides housing accommodations to its 241 expatriate staff, 41 of whom are non-resident Indians.
The SBI expansionary move was in stark contrast to other foreign banks, many of which were cutting jobs and curbing incentives like housing allowances for expatriates as they rebuild balance sheets following the global financial crisis.
"Traditionally, Indian companies would operate out of other centres, such as the UK, the US and to some extent Hong Kong, but now most of them prefer to do business out of Singapore," explained Kishora, justifying the move.
SBI has a qualified full banking licence, which allows it to operate out of 25 business locations. It has seven branches and 21 ATMs, mainly catering to non-resident Indians and Indian tourists.