India could be getting more foreign banks as the other Asian countries like China, Singapore and Hong Kong. Close to 15 overseas banks have been in touch with the Central Bank, to open branches in the country.

According to RBI foreign banks except those operating in WOS mode, require prior approval for opening branches in India.

As per RBI Data, already 46 foreign banks are operating in India including two banks operating in wholly-owned subsidiary (WOS) mode. RBI has informed the finance ministry that 15 banks have shown interest in opening their branches in India, said official sources.

RBI has further apprised that the foreign banks open their branches in India based on their commercial judgment.

With regard to banks operating in WOS mode, as per RBI norms, at least 25 percent of the total number of branches opened during a financial year, must be opened in unbanked rural (Tier 5 and Tier 6) centres that do not have a brick and mortar structure of any scheduled commercial bank for customer-based banking transactions.

It is also mandatory for foreign banks to provide loans to farmers and scheduled castes/scheduled tribes for employment on the lines of Indian Banks. RBI has rules that foreign banks have to comply with RBI’s extant priority sector guidelines. These guidelines provide for foreign banks with 20 branches and above to lend 40 percent of Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANBC) or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher to priority sector including lending to Weaker Sections including, inter-alia, scheduled castes/scheduled tribes.

SBM Bank (India) Limited (Subsidiary of SBM Group, Mauritius) and DBS Bank India Limited (Subsidiary of DBS Bank Ltd) were issued licence on December 6, 2017 and October 4, 2018 respectively for carrying on banking business in India through Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS) mode. They have commenced operations from December 01, 2018 and March 01, 2019 respectively.

Foreign banks with the highest branches belong to Standard Chartered of 100 and CitiBank has 35 branches. HSBC has 26 branches. Deutsche Bank has 17. UK’s Barclays Bank Plc has 6 branches.

(With input from agencies)