Medicine

Finance Ministry to consolidate overseas operations of public sector banks

Finance Ministry to consolidate overseas operations of public sector banks

The government has made a decision to consolidate 35 foreign operations of state-run banks without affecting their presence overseas.

"In a Twitter post, financial services secretary Rajeev Kumar on Thursday said: "#ResponsibleBanking; PSBs to consolidate 35 overseas operations without affecting worldwide presence of PSBs in these countries; 69 operations identified for further examination.

Meanwhile, the CBI has questioned former PNB managing director Usha Ananthasubramanian and ICICI Bank executive director N S Kanan in connection with its over Rs 12,600 crore bank fraud case.

According to Kumar, the overseas operations that are being reviewed include bank branches, joint ventures, subsidiaries, remittance centres and representative offices.

This comes at a time when the overseas operations of state-run banks are under the scanner following the Rs12,636 crore scam that hit Punjab National Bank.

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The government on Tuesday set a deadline of 15 days for PSBs to examine all non-performing assets above Rs 50 crore for possible fraud and to identify operational and technical gaps.

The government is examining the lapses in systems followed by overseas branches while giving loans to group firms of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi against letters of understanding (LoUs) fraudulently issued by some officials of Punjab National Bank.

While non-viable operations in overseas markets will be closed down, operations in the same geography will be consolidated. It also stated that equity stake in joint ventures having multiple public sector bank partners would be consolidated.

The banks have been advised to shut down loss-making domestic and worldwide branches as part of a capital-saving exercise. Vijaya Bank (up 2.36%), Andhra Bank (up 1.78%), Indian Bank (up 0.61%) and Union Bank of India (up 0.49%) edged higher.

However, he observed that the larger and long-term solution lies in the rationalisation, consolidation and selective privatisation of public sector banks.


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