SBI opens remittance centre in S'pore
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SBI opens remittance centre in S'pore

The remittance centre will not only cater to 300,000 NRIs but, will also target other South Asian communities.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 13:56 IST

The State Bank of India opened its first remittance centre in the city-state of Singapore on Sunday. The move is being seen as a prelude to the entry by India's largest bank into the retail-banking sector in Singapore.

The new centre will not only cater to the non-resident Indians (NRIs), but it will also target other South Asians and people from other countries like the Philippines. There are over 300,000 NRIs and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) in Singapore.

"It's not going to be only for remittance in India. We are planning to provide services for people from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and even the Philippines. We also have plans to tie up with other South Asian and Southeast Asian countries," SBI Singapore's chief executive P.K. Malhotra said.

Though SBI already has an offshore banking operation there - a part of its 67 offices and branches spread over 29 countries across the globe - it has applied only now for qualifying full bank status, which will allow it to enter the retail banking sector. And if permission is granted, it can open as many as 25 customer service locations.

Other Indian banks like the Indian Overseas Bank and the UCO Bank have been operating in Singapore for a long time now but their remittance centres cater to Indian workers only.

According to the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) signed between India and Singapore last year, banks of each country are allowed greater access to the other country. Indian banks, however, do not get automatic entry into Singapore and have to meet the criteria set out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

First Published: Apr 17, 2006 12:44 IST