The state-owned banks have closed down 35 overseas branches and representative offices as part of the clean and responsible banking initiative.
As per the banking sector agenda approved at the PSB Manthan in November last year, public sector banks (PSBs) have to examine all 216 overseas operations.
The rationalisation of overseas operations of banks is significant as jewellery designer Nirav Modi allegedly cheated Punjab National Bank (PNB) of Rs 12,700 crore in connivance with PNB staff and officials of overseas branches of other state-owned banks.
According to sources, Bank of India, Andhra Bank, IDBI Bank and Indian Overseas Bank have closed down Dubai operations, while Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank and Union Bank of India have shut Shanghai offices.
Bank of India has also closed down operations in Yangoon and Bostwana, while Bank of Baroda and Indian Overseas Bank have shut Hong Kong branch. In addition, PSBs have also closed down various representative offices.
As on January 31, 2018, public sector banks had about 165 overseas branches, besides subsidiaries, joint ventures and representative offices. State Bank of India has the largest number of overseas branches (52) followed by Bank of Baroda (50) and Bank of India (29). The state-owned banks have largest number of branches in United Kingdom (32) followed by Hong Kong and UAE (13 each) and Singapore (12).
"PSBs to consolidate 35 overseas operations without affecting international presence of PSBs in these countries; 69 ops identified for further examination. Move towards cost efficiencies and synergies in overseas mkt," Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said in a tweet.
Expressing government's commitment to 'clean and responsible banking,' the tweet said the overseas operations of the state-owned banks will be rationalised.
As part of the rationalisation of overseas operations, the graphic that accompanied the tweet said, "PSBs to consolidate 35 operations. 69 operations identified for possible consolidation. Includes bank branches, remittance centres and representative offices".
It further said: "All 216 PSB operations to be examined. Non-viable operations in overseas market to be closed for cost efficiency and synergy. Operations in some geography to be consolidated. Consolidate equity stake in joint ventures having multiple PSB partners".