Money & Banking
Seven foreign banks given approval to open branches in 2012

Providing the information in the Lok Sabha, finance minister P Chidambaram said under the WTO, India is committed to allow foreign banks to open 12 branches in a year

 
New Delhi: BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered are among the seven foreign banks which have been given approval to open new branches in the country in 2012 till mid-August, reports PTI.
 
The other four which were also given approval are—Morgan Stanley Bank International, Westpac Banking Corporation, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait and State Bank of Mauritius.
 
In 2011, as many as 10 foreign banks were given permission to open branches in India, while the number stood at six in the year before that.
 
Providing this information in the Lok Sabha, finance minister P Chidambaram said under the WTO, India is committed to allow foreign banks to open 12 branches in a year.
 
“The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) may, however, go beyond the WTO commitments of 12 branch licenses, if the foreign banks open offices in unbanked\under-banked areas,” he added.
 
Standard Chartered Bank and State Bank of Mauritius have been given approval to open branches in under-banked areas.
 
Morgan Stanley, Westpac Banking Corporation and BNP Paribas received permissions for opening branches in Mumbai.
 
The approval to Societe Generale and Bank of Bahrain and Kuwati is to open branches at Sanand and Aluva, respectively.
 

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IDBI Bank launches floating rate deposit scheme

“Our bank’s FRTD (floating rate interest on retail term deposits) would allow our customers to take advantage of interest rate changes without closing and rebooking their fixed deposits,” IDBI Bank chairman and managing director R M Malla said

Mumbai: State-run IDBI Bank became the first lender to come out with a floating rate deposit product after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) nudged banks to switch to such mode of deposits in July, reports PTI.

 

“Our bank’s FRTD (floating rate interest on retail term deposits) would allow our customers to take advantage of interest rate changes without closing and rebooking their fixed deposits,” IDBI Bank chairman and managing director R M Malla said in a statement.

 

This is not the first time that any bank has launched such a product. Country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) had in fact experimented with such a product, only to be met with a poor response in the past and then scrapped it.

 

“Customers will not like to start a floating rate deposit when rates go down, while the bank will be wary of launching such a product in a scenario of rising rates,” an SBI official had explained as the reason for discontinuing the offer early this month.

 

The RBI, which is widely expected to soften its elevated interest rates going ahead, wants the banks to explore the product as it can help banks smoothen out their asset-liability mismatches as lenders carry higher interest rate deposits for a longer period.

 

RBI governor D Subbarao had discussed the possibility of launching such a product with bank chiefs at the customary post-policy meeting on 31 July 2012.

 

The IDBI product entails a minimum deposit of Rs10,000 or in multiples of Rs1,000 up to a maximum of Rs1 crore. The interest rate on deposit will move in tandem with a reference rate to be readjusted on quarterly basis, a bank statement said.

 

The reference rate will be arrived at as per the average yield on a 364-day Treasury bill auctions undertaken by RBI during the three months period, it added.

 

The deposit has a minimum one year lock-in period and is available in six maturity slabs ranging up to 10 years.

 

IDBI Bank’s fixed interest rate depositors have the liberty to move their deposit to the floating interest rate without any penalties, it said, stressing that the reverse is not allowed.

 

The product is expected to appeal to those retail depositors who, having borrowed at floating rates are exposed to interest arte risks, the bank said.

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“Over Rs750 crore lying in inactive post office saving accounts”

“Rs752,44,57,414.03 is the amount lying in all inactive (silent) accounts as on 31 March 2011 in 2,49,59,446 accounts,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal said in a written reply to Lok Sabha

New Delhi: The government today said around Rs752 crore is lying as unclaimed deposits in more than 2.49 crore inactive savings accounts in post offices, reports PTI.

 

“Rs752,44,57,414.03 is the amount lying in all inactive (silent) accounts as on 31 March 2011 in 2,49,59,446 accounts,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

 

West Bengal led the tally of unclaimed deposits with over Rs107 crore lying in 20.16 lakh accounts, followed by Tamil Nadu (Rs105.87 crore in 62.72 lakh accounts) and Uttar Pradesh (Rs68.61 crore in 21.74 lakh accounts).

 

“The depositor of such account can activate the account at any time by transaction. Notices are issued every year to the account holder of such accounts who are not maintaining minimum balance. Special drives are launched to re-activate such accounts by issuing notices and giving information through electronic media,” Mr Sibal said.

 

Responding to another query, Mr Sibal said 79,604 complaints for non-delivery of registered letters, 41,794 for Speed Post and 8,257 related to parcels were received in the April-June, 2012 period.

 

“Of these, 73,077 complaints for registered post, 38,154 for Speed Post and 6,147 for parcels were addressed. As on 30 June 2012, 6,527 complaint cases of registered letters, 3,640 cases of Speed Post and 2,110 cases of parcels are pending,” he said.

 

The major reason for the pendency are involvement of more than one postal circle/ state in processing the complaints, time taken in making detailed inquiry or investigation and non-submission of the required details by the complainant in some cases, he added.

 

The minister added that during 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, departmental action has been initiated in 1,287 cases against postal employees and penalties have been imposed in 1,157 cases for non-delivery and loss of articles, etc.

 

In a separate reply, minister of state for communications and IT Sachin Pilot said the Department of Posts’ (DoP) volume as well as revenue from speed post has continuously increased over the years.

 

“The volume of Speed Post has increased from 21.14 crore in 2008-09 to 24.08 crore in 2009-10, 27.45 crore in 2010-11 to 39.19 crore in 2011-12,” Mr Pilot said.

 

Revenues from speed posts have also grown from Rs515 crore in 2008-09 to Rs614 crore in 2009-10, Rs749 crore in 2010-11 and Rs900 crore in 2011-12, he added.

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