Foreign banks lower lending, workforce in India in '09-10

This happened even as the overall economy bounced back and foreign banks increased their number of branches in India during 2009-10. According to the Reserve Bank, foreign banks gave out total advances of Rs 1,63,260 crore during 2009-10. This was 1.28 per cent less than Rs 1,65,385 crore of loans given by the banks in 2008-09.

In addition, overseas banks had 27,742 employees in India as on March 31, 2010, a fall of 6.22 per cent compared to the previous fiscal, RBI said in its latest 'Profile of Banks'.

However, the total number of offices operated by foreign lenders in the country went up to 310 in the last fiscal, from 295 in 2008-09, it added. There are 32 overseas banks operating in the country. Among major foreign lenders, Citibank gave out advances of Rs 36,655 crore in 2009-10, down from Rs 39,920 crore in the previous fiscal, while Barclays Bank's lending fell to Rs 7,565 crore in the last fiscal from Rs 10,551 crore in FY'09.

Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp gave out Rs 23,475 crore in India last fiscal, down from Rs 27,589 crore in the year before that. Royal Bank of Scotland NV's lending in the country fell to Rs 13,406 crore in 2009-10, against Rs 16,660 crore.

However, Deutsche Bank's advances to Indian customers went up to Rs 12,923 crore in the fiscal ending March 2010, from Rs 8,798 in the previous year. Standard Chartered Bank had the largest payroll among foreign banks in India as on March 31, 2010. It employed 7,903 staff in the country, which was a small rise from 7,825 in the previous fiscal.

But many of the other overseas banks reduced their staff strength substantially last fiscal. Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp cut staff numbers to 6,685 last fiscal. It had 7,746 employees in India in 2008-09. Royal Bank of Scotland NV's workforce in India came down to 2,716 in 2009-10 from 3,241 in the previous fiscal, while Citibank's went down to 4,613 from 4,795.

Barclays reduced India payroll by a third and ended 2009-10 with 1,083 employees against 1,534 in 2008-09. Even as they shed staff in India, overseas banks added more branches in the country last fiscal. Standard Chartered Bank increased the number of its offices to 95 from 91, while Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp touched the 50 mark from 47 a year-ago. Citibank's total branches in the country went up to 43 in 2009-10 from 41 in the previous fiscal.

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