Ballooning energy needs, volatile oil & gas prices, increased competition for dwindling supplies, and rising concerns about global warming are all pushing countries around the world to reconsider nuclear energy.
The Indian arm of the Swiss financial services behemoth may soon launch its banking operations here, after receiving in-principle approval from the RBI
The Indian arm of Swiss financial services conglomerate Credit Suisse Group has received an in-principle nod from the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to launch banking services here.
The multinational company (MNC), which has been operating in India with a focus on wealth management and investment banking, is likely to get its banking license soon. Mihir Doshi, country head, Swiss Bank India, confirmed the development to Moneylife. “We have received an in-principle approval from the RBI. We are still working on the modalities; (we) have not yet decided as to when we plan to launch our banking operations.”
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had in his Budget day speech earlier this year announced his intention to offer banking licenses to new entities. There was a lot of speculation in industry and media circles that the first to get banking licenses would be Indian non-banking finance companies (NBFCs).
Indian NBFCs like Indiabulls, Reliance Capital, Religare, IL&FS, IDFC and Aditya Birla Financial Services were considered likely to apply for bank licences after the announcement. Players like Aditya Birla Financial Services and the Shriram Group have already evinced interest in floating their own banks.
As such, Credit Suisse could emerge among the first companies to get the coveted banking license from the RBI. Its presence would mark the entry of yet another foreign bank in India’s banking fraternity. More significantly, Credit Suisse’s entry will usher in the sophisticated and professional practices of the world-renowned Swiss banking community.
Credit Suisse is active in over 50 countries and employs more than 48,000 people from approximately 100 different nations. Its total assets under management (AUM) as at 31 March 2010 stands at 1,270 billion Swiss francs.
This development is also significant as no new banks have been set up in the past eight years in India. In fact, no new Indian bank has been set up since the first flush of liberalisation in 1993 when half-a-dozen banking licences were handed out.
NBFCs that were earlier allowed to be converted into banks were Kotak Mahindra Finance and 20th Century Finance. While Kotak has diversified into various financial services, 20th Century became Centurion Bank; it was taken over by a bunch of private equity investors and eventually merged with HDFC Bank. Two of the other new licensees in the early 1990s—HDFC Bank and UTI Bank (renamed Axis Bank)—have become very successful private banks.