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Old August 19th, 2008, 02:18 PM   #41
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Loan growth better than last year: RBI

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Growth in advances by Indian banks was better than last year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor V. Leeladhar said on Tuesday when asked whether high interest rates were hurting loan growth.

The credit growth has so far been healthy though retail lending has slightly slowed down, he said, adding farm loans were expected to pick up.

"The growth of advances are far better than what it was last year. Something like 26 per cent against 20 per cent, which we have been projecting," he said in Bangalore.

RBI raised its key lending rate to a seven-year high of 9 per cent in July to rein in double-digit inflation.

Higher rates may slow down credit growth, though that could not yet be determined, he said.

Loans by Indian banks as at Aug 1 were 25.8 per cent higher than a year earlier, RBI data showed.

Asked whether banking sector reforms to allow foreign competitors to buy local banks were on track to be unveiled next year, Leeladhar said it all depends on the review.

"I can't foresee what will be the findings of the review," he said.
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Old August 19th, 2008, 02:19 PM   #42
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ICICI Bank in $250-mn pact with US Exim Bank

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Private-sector lender, ICICI Bank on Tuesday entered into an USD 250-million agreement with Export-Import Bank of United States to finance capital goods imports of Indian corporates from USA.

The agreement, which is an extension of Indian infrastructure facility of Exim Bank, will provide credit support to international banks for financing of capital goods imports by Indian corporates, a press release issued in Mumbai said.

This will particularly benefit companies in sectors such as power, transportation, airports, oil & gas and renewable energy, the statement said.

The agreement was signed by Exim Bank's Strategic Initiatives Division Vice President and Manager, Ray Ellis, and ICICI Bank's Executive Direcctor, Sonjoy Chatterjee, ICICI Bank is India's largest private sector bank and has consolidated total assets of about USD 113-billion as on June 30, 2008. The bank has presence in 19 countries.
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Old August 19th, 2008, 02:34 PM   #43
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Doha Bank to open AMC in India next year

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Qatar-based Doha Bank is making a foray into NBFC segment in India, starting out with an AMC (asset management company) next year. The activities will include brokerage to currency futures.

It is the DBFS (Doha Brokerage and Financial Services) arm of Bank that's geared into this new set of operations, pumping in a token $50 million this year. It would also be the first time that a West Asian Bank is entering India's NBFC sector.

"Feasibility study on AMC is on. Factoring in the delay for clearances, NBFC activities are expected to get going by middle of 2009. By then the market climate too could emerge more favourable," KV Samuel, vice-chairman DBFS and senior manager (Treasury and Investment), Doha Bank, said.

Starting October, Doha Bank is planning to go ahead with its NBFC operations in India, ramping up its current 145 branch network to 300 branches. The new branches will be spread out mostly in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

DBFC has no intention of taking the deposit-mobilisation plunge now, when the arbitrage window is almost shut. On the other hand, the idea is to make the most of the consumer and housing loan segment.

"Within about six months, investors are likely to look for opportunities. Till then, the market dullness may continue," says Prince George, MD, DBFS. For one, the business cycle could take the return trip to the boom, by about six months. Two, the pre-election political flux might stabilise itself. And three, crude prices have already started the downslide.

It was recently that Doha Bank constituted its NBFC division, by taking over 49% equity in Select Securities (a brokerage network earlier known under the brand name Investnet). It is this new entity that came to be known as DBFS.
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Old August 20th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #44
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SBI likely to finalise JV with IAG by Sept

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Stage is set for the entry of State Bank of India into general insurance as the country's largest lender is expected to finalise the terms for joint venture with Insurance Australia Group (IAG) by next month.

"We are currently working on the structure of the joint venture agreement. We expect to finalise the operating structure by September. Once a mutual agreement is reached, the new company is expected to get operational in the next three to six months," a senior SBI official said in Mumbai.

Both parties signed an agreement in May this year to form a new company for the proposed insurance business. Under the pact, State Bank will hold a 74 per cent stake in the entity and the Australian partner the rest 26 per cent.

State Bank officials, however, declined to divulge the financial terms and management structure of the proposed joint venture company.

SBI's entry into general insurance is expected to pose challenges to existing players. Public sector United India Insurance, New India Assurance, Oriental Insurance and National Insurance hold a major share of the business.

In private sector leading players include Bajaj Allianz, ICICI Lombard, IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance and Reliance General Insurance.

Government-run State Bank has aggressive plans to expand business on various fronts, including custodial business. Though the bank wants to form a JV with French financial-services major Societe Generale, a Finance Ministry official recently said the Government was not in favour of the deal.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 11:27 AM   #45
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YES Bank launches voice-based facility

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For the first time in the Indian financial services sector, a voice-based banking facility has been introduced by Yes Bank in partnership with Cisco Systems. The new facility will enable YES Bank customers to transact round-the-clock banking through their mobile handsets from anywhere in the world, by merely saying 'voice commands' instead of keying-in various menu options, when their calls gets connected to the bank's contact centre based in Gurgaon.

The customers will have to key in their customer identification numbers on their mobile handsets while availing this facility. In association with a US based speech and imaging solutions company 'Nuance', YES Bank is developing an exclusive voice biometrics verification technology for customers in a bid to authenticate their voices for allowing banking transactions.
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 09:30 AM   #46
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Bajaj Allianz launches Insta Insure

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Targeting the individuals who do not have health insurance cover, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company on Friday launched Insta Insure, a first product in the health insurance segment.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance CEO Swaraj Krishnan after formally launching the product in Chennai said "The main USP of this product will be the instant availability and commencement of the cover - as soon as the premium is paid the coverage will commence the moment it is activated".

"There is a wide range of products and services that are available instantly. Insta Insure Family Health is one of such products that we have launched. We will soon launch other retail products also under this sub-brand - Insta Insure" he said.

It will be available in places like retail outlets, grocery or pharmacy chains, he said adding the product is available for all aged between 18 years and 45 years, he said.

Initially the product would be available in cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat and Jaipur.

"We have also planned to launch this product in other cities as well", Krishnan said.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 02:19 PM   #47
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HDFC to spread its network to rural market

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With the aim of enabling farmers and Self Help Groups (SHGs) have access to banking and finance products, India's third largest bank HDFC has chalked out new measures to expand its network to rural areas of the country.

New branches in rural areas would be equivalent with the core banking facilities that HDFC provides to customers in metropolitan cities, according to a top official of the bank.

"During the next fiscal, we plan to open more than 200 branches across the country. Of this, we will open more than 100 branches in rural areas," HDFC Senior Vice President G S Gopinath said.

Currently, 125 of the total of 325 branches in South India are in rural and semi-urban areas, 113 in urban areas and 87 branches in metro cities. "The main idea is to make farmers and SHG have a bank account and access to the bank,' he said.

For this purpose, HDFC planned to depute more field staff and provide office with internet and other facilities at rural branches.

"We believe that HDFC has great potential for further development due to its broad geographical service coverage, its connection with rural residents and the increasing demand for loans in rural areas,' he said.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 02:21 PM   #48
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Railways invites 20 groups to bid for insurance scheme

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Raising the level of competition among private insurance players for the railway insurance scheme, the Railways has invited as many as 20 parties to bid for providing insurance cover during the next one year.

Last year, ICICI Lombard had bagged the offer, battling five other private players.

This year's tenders will be opened on September 1, sources in the Railway Ministry said, adding that invitations have been sent to about 20 companies this time.

The insurance cover will be from September 20 this year to September 19 next year.

The passenger insurance scheme of Indian Railways covers railway passengers against death or injury resulting from rail accidents or untoward incidents as per the Railway Act of 1989.

The Railways began inviting private parties to provide insurance cover about three years back in keeping with its mandate.

At present, compensation payable in case of death is Rs 4 lakh and in case of injury Rs 32,000 to Rs 4 lakh depending on the nature of injury.

The scheme will extend to Indian Railways, Metro Railway (Kolkata) and Konkan Railway Corporation Limited.

Railway passengers holding a valid ticket, railway pass, platform ticket and railway men on duty will be covered under the scheme.

Besides, children below five years of age travelling with bonafide ticket holder, pass holders, platform ticket holders in waiting rooms, cloak rooms, booking offices and railway platforms who become victims of untoward incidents will also be covered.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 02:25 PM   #49
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Reliance Money forays into Europe

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Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Money on Friday announced its foray into Europe by setting up operations in Ireland and the UK and is looking to tap over two million non-resident Indian population in the region.

Announcing the foray, R-Money CEO Sudip Bandyopadhyay said, "This is our first move to reach out to the large base of over 2 million NRIs and PIOs based in Europe with our unique, cost-effective and efficient bouquet of products and services. Our presence in Ireland and UK will complement our efforts to have a larger role in this region."

Ireland is the first European country where R-Money would start its operations in less than one year of its decision to tap the overseas markets.

R-Money (Ireland) would in turn enter into partnership with appropriate players in other European countries after getting the necessary approval from regulatory authorities in the respective countries, he added.

The company has already forayed into the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Africa and Hong Kong.

After foraying into other global markets, broking and distribution firm Reliance Money made the first initiative to to offer its services to retail investors in Europe with a strew of financial products.

Bandyopadhyay said the company aims to generate 50 per cent of its revenues from overseas markets by 2012 and capture a bigger share of the record 195 billion dollars invested in India last year by overseas funds.

Through this subsidiary -- Reliance Money (Ireland) -- the non-resident Indian entities and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) can invest in the Indian market directly through its capital market and portfolio management services for as low as USD 50,000.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:11 PM   #50
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Subbarao appointed RBI Governor

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The government on Monday appointed Finance Secretary Duvuri Subbarao Governor of the Reserve Bank of India in place of Y.V. Reddy, who completes his term on September 5.

Dr. Subbarao is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and topper of the IAS (1972 batch).

He will be the 22nd Governor of the RBI.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 12:46 PM   #51
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Old September 5th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #52
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Insurance sector may touch Rs 2 lakh cr by 2010

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India's insurance sector may touch a level of Rs 2 lakh crore in the next two years in view of aggressive marketing techniques adopted by private insurance companies, a report said.

"The total insurance business will reach a level of Rs 2 lakh crore in next two years from current level of Rs 500 billion (5,000 crore)," industry body Assocham said in its report `Insurance Sector Futuristic Growth'.

Private insurance business would grow at the rate of 140 per cent in view of aggressive marketing technique adopted by them, against 35-40 per cent of state-owned insurance companies growth rate, it said.

On account of intense marketing strategies adopted by private insurance players, the market share of state-owned insurance companies like GIC, LIC have already come down to 70 per cent in last 4-5 years from over 97 per cent, Assocham President Sajjan Jindal said.

The state owned insurance companies have limited number of policies to offer to their subscribers while in case of private insurance companies, their policy numbers are many more and the premium amount as well as the maturity period is much competitive against those of government insurance firms.

The private sector insurance players have started exploring the rural markets in which until recently the state-run companies had the monopoly, Jindal said.

The chamber has also suggested that insurers strategy should stimulate demand in areas that are currently not served at all. Insurance companies mostly focus on manufacturing sector, though, the services sector is taking a large and growing share of Indias GDP. This offers immense opportunities for expansion opportunities.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #53
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ANZ jobs axed in New Zealand, some heading to India


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ANZ bank, which in July had announced that it will move 238 back office jobs from Wellington and Auckland to Bangalore, is axing jobs throughout its branches in New Zealand.

According to the banking union Finsec, the staff was told of the redundancies at a special meeting convened Thursday.

'When they announced the offshoring of hundreds of jobs to India they promised to increase frontline staff numbers and customer service', Finsec campaigns director Andrew Campbell told the New Zealand Press Association (NZPA).

'At a time when this billion dollar bank continues to make record profits it should be investing in its front line, but once again, it is putting profit before people', Campbell said.

At the Thursday meeting, the bank announced a review of the branch network with a view to reducing staff numbers; a freeze on recruitment which will lead to immediate staff reductions through attrition; and asked frontline staff to consider voluntary redundancy, reports NZPA.

ANZ employs more than 37,700 people around the world.

Earlier, Finsec had accused the Australian-owned bank of being greedy as the work is said to be done at a quarter of the cost in India.

Banks say that jobs are being outsourced to improve efficiency. While some staff is redeployed others are offered redundancy packages.

Another of Australia's four leading banks, the National Australia Bank (NAB), has also announced that it will outsource 500 jobs to India by year-end.

Other Australian banks that have outsourced IT jobs to India include Westpac, St George and the Commonwealth Bank.
source economictimes.com
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Old October 1st, 2008, 05:04 AM   #54
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MFs can sell ULIPs, says IRDA

MUMBAI: Insurance regulator IRDA on Tuesday said mutual funds would continue to sell group insurance products even as the life insurance association decided against it.

IRDA has advised the Life Insurance Council to review and put on hold the decision to discontinue offer of group cover," a SEBI release said.

LIC , which is an association of life insurance companies, had earlier decided against offering insurance covers to fresh unit-linked products sold by mutual funds from October 1.

It was decided that the insurer would not sell group covers to mutual funds that bundle life insurance with units and thereby create competition for ULIPs. SEBI regulates the mutual fund industry while IRDA is the insurance sector regulator. The mutual fund industry contended that by selling insurance products it is only helping in expanding the insurance market rather than creating any conflict of interest.

Source

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Old October 1st, 2008, 06:14 AM   #55
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Reliance Money to foray into investment banking

http://www.financialexpress.com/news...anking/367764/

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Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group Reliance Money on Tuesday said it will foray into the investment banking sector and has obtained a merchant banking licence from market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India.

The new licence from SEBI to focus on small and mid-sized companies would allow Reliance Money to provide a wide range of investment banking services such as issue management, underwriting, private equity advisory/ syndication and corporate finance services in India, a company statement said.

"We are extremely pleased with this development, as we believe the potential for Investment Banking in India is huge.

While the main focus of the industry has been on large caps, we see a huge opportunity in serving the small and mid-sized segment, currently being under-serviced," Reliance Money Director and CEO Sudip Bandyopadhyay said.

The company is eyeing 50 fund raising deals within first the six months and would leverage from its existing customer base of more than 2.5 million and wide distribution network of more than 10,000 outlets, it said.

Reliance Money would initially concentrate on issue management activities such as initial public offerings, rights issue, follow on public offerings, qualified institutional placements, open offers, buyback offers, delisting offers and preferential issue of listed equity.

"Our expansion into investment banking highlights Reliance Money's broad-based approach in building an integrated, comprehensive global financial services platform in the country," Bandyopadhyay added.
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Old October 1st, 2008, 01:47 PM   #56
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this is the funnniest yet tragic thing i've heard for a while..

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/C...ow/3546841.cms



Woman robbed of Rs 4 lakh by youths



Woman robbed of Rs 4 lakh by youths
1 Oct 2008, 0450 hrs IST,TNN
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HYDERABAD: Thieves seemed to have taken advantage of the panic among ICICI Bank customers with both hands. With rumours flying thick and fast about the crisis in the bank, a woman withdrew Rs four lakh cash from the Chaitanyapuri branch. Within no time she was robbed of her cash by two motorcycle-borne snatchers.

At around 2.30 pm, Sunanda, 55, along with her daughter-in-law, Pratima, went to the ICICI Bank's Chaitanyapuri branch and withdrew Rs four lakh. The two were walking back to their house at Gaddiannaram, which is three kilometres away from the bank, carrying the polythene bag containing the money.

Sunanda and Pratima were barely 200 yards away from their house when two men, riding a Passion Plus, came from their behind. The pillion rider snatched the polythene bag from Sunanda's hands.

“The bikers then sped away towards National Highway 9 (Hyderabad-Vijayawada road),” Saroornagar inspector L A Bhaskar said.

Sunanda’s son Nalini Kumar is working as a software engineer and her husband is a retired private employee.

“Like other customers of the bank, Sunanda's family also was worried about rumours about the bank's financial condition and withdrew the money from the bank,”
Saroornagar SI V Yadgiri Reddy said. He said locals noticed the bikers till Red Cross Hospital at Gaddiannaram, but they vanished into the heavy traffic.

The duo could not jot down the vehicle number as it was covered by a helmet hanging from the lock. However, according to their description, the rider of the bike was of dark complexion and was wearing a cream colour shirt. Police have alerted all police stations in the city.
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Old October 12th, 2008, 03:15 PM   #57
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BNP likely to decide on Fortis' India biz by Jan


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French financial services major, BNP Paribas, is likely to decide on the integration of Fortis' Indian operations with itself by January that includes Dutch Bank ABN Amro's India asset management business.

This follows BNP Paribas agreeing to acquire Fortis' business in certain geographies globally.

Early this month, BNP Paribas has agreed to acquire Fortis' Belgium and Luxembourg operations as well as international franchises for an estimated Euro 14.5-billion after the latter failed to survive the global financial turmoil.

If the acquisition goes through, BNP Paribas will have a combined deposit base of around Euro 600-billion and a 75 per cent stake in Fortis Belgium.

"A clear picture will emerge on this matter in the next two-three months...given that BNP Paribas has a controlling stake in Fortis, it is likely to integrate ABN Amro's mutual funds business here, which is a part of Fortis now," a source in the know told media here.

However, chances of BNP Paribas selling a part of the Fortis' business in some regions to a third party cannot be ruled out if it finds that a more viable option, the source said.

If BNP Paribas decides to acquire Fortis' Indian operations, it may first exit its holding in Chennai-based mutual funds company, Sundaram BNP Paribas, as Sundaram owns a majority stake in the JV.

Since BNP Paribas doesn't have a majority holding in the mutual funds JV with Sundaram, chances of routing the acquisition through the JV is highly unlikely, the source said.

BNP Paribas is presently in the process of securing necessary regulatory and shareholder approvals for the takeover (of Fortis) and the process could take a minimum of 2-3 months to get completed, the source said.

ABN Amro's India mutual funds business has assets under management of around Rs 9,000-crore as on September 30, a presence in 10 locations and a headcount of around 75.

Fortis is present in India through its life insurance JV with IDBI and Federal Bank.

A takeover of ABN Amro's mutual fund business would considerably strengthen BNP Paribas' presence in the domestic MF space. A consortium of lenders--Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Fortis and Santander took over the operations of ABN Amro last year. According to the agreement, Fortis took over the asset management business of ABN Amro while RBS will acquire the retail and wholesale banking operations.

The rebranding of ABN Amro mutual funds business into Fortis will come into effect from November 10 after unit-holders' approval is obtained, an ABN Amro official said. The company had received SEBI approval for the rebranding early this month.

"At this level, the rebranding process requires a minimum 30 days to secure necessary approval from the unitholders. This period will get completed by November 9," the official said. All mutual fund schemes presently offered by ABN Amro will be prefixed with the name of Fortis after the rebranding, the official said.
source economictimes.com
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Old October 12th, 2008, 03:24 PM   #58
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ICICI '08 capital adequacy better than SBI, HDFC: RBI


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Country's leading private sector lender ICICI Bank, whose shares tumbled by 20 per cent on Friday, has a high capital adequacy ratio of 13
.97 per cent, well above that of State Bank of India (SBI) and HDFC Bank during 2007-08, says a RBI report.

The capital adequacy ratio of the ICICI Bank, according to the central bank's recent profile of the Indian banking industry, was also well above the industry average of 13 per cent.

As against the Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of the ICICI Bank at 13.97 per cent, the SBI had a CRAR of 12.64 per cent and HDFC 13.60 per cent.

CRAR reflects the ability of a bank to deal with loan defaults, and as per the RBI guidelines, every bank is required to maintain capital adequacy ratio.

The shares of the ICICI Bank during the last week went down by 27.83 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange to close at Rs 364.

According to the RBI analysis, CRAR of private banks at 14.30 per cent for 2007-08 was higher compared to the PSU and foreign banks.

The average CRAR of the nationalised banks stood at 12.10 per cent while that of foreign banks at 13.10 per cent for the year 2007-08. State Bank of India and its associates had an average CRAR of 13.20 per cent, with SBI's capital adequacy ratio stood at 12.64 per cent, below the group average.

Among the nationalised banks, Canara Bank's CRAR at 13.25 per cent was higher than the industry average.

The CRAR of foreign banks such as Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and Citibank stood at 10.59 per cent, 10.59 per cent and 12 per cent respectively, below the industry average.
source economictimes.com
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Old October 16th, 2008, 01:29 AM   #59
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Scare tactics?

Don’t put money in foreign banks: West Bengal minister

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/...100107656.html

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In the backdrop of the global financial crisis, West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta Wednesday urged people not to keep their money in foreign banks and even in banks having significant foreign equity holdings.”Please, don’t put money in foreign banks and even in Indian banks having significant holding of equity by foreign institutions, whose names I would not like to take,” Dasgupta said while inaugurating a branch of a rural bank at Barasat near Kolkata.

“Your money is safe only in public sector banks, cooperative banks and regional rural banks,” the minister said.

His statements came a day after the central committee of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) adopted a resolution, urging the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to take lessons from the US financial crisis.

“The CPI-M has consistently maintained that the finance-driven imperialist globalisation is unsustainable. The UPA government has been pushing for the very same policies, which have spelt ruin for the financial system in the US and many European countries,” it said.

“The government has been assiduously pushing for financial sector liberalisation in the past four years. The manner in which the US is trying to solve the crisis by bailing out the investment bankers and financers at the expense of the taxpayers will only worsen the situation,” it added.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 11:06 PM   #60
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