Number of foreign banks' branches up in India in FY10

Further, according to the latest data released by the Reserve Bank, only one new foreign lender -- First Rand Bank of South Africa -- entered India.

At the end of 2009-10, a total of 235 out of the 306 branches of overseas lenders operating in the Indian market were in the metropolitan cities.

Another 60 branches were in other urban localities, while six and five branches were in semi-urban and rural areas, respectively.

At the end of 2008-09, metropolitan cities had accounted for 233 of the then existing 293 branches of foreign banks in India, followed by 52 in other urban centres, and four each in semi-urban and rural areas.

As such, during the last fiscal the highest growth rate of foreign banks' branches was witnessed in urban centres.

Most of the overseas banks did not open any new branches during the fiscal under review.

Besides the one branch opened by newcomer First Rand, only five others, including the big four -- Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland -- bucked the trend and went on to open new branches in the country.

Standard Chartered, the foreign bank with the biggest presence in the country, increased its number of branches to 94 at the end of 2009-10 from 90 in the end of the previous fiscal.

HSBC's number of branches in India went up to 50 in the last fiscal from 47 in 2008-09, while Citibank's branches numbered 43 as on March 31, 2010, as against 41 in the year-ago period.

RBS opened one new office in the last fiscal taking its total branches in India to 31 from 30.
The only other overseas lender to increase presence in the country last fiscal was Barclays Bank. Its total branches increased to seven at the end of 2009-10 from five in the previous financial year.

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