The public sector banking and financial services company, State Bank of India (SBI) has announced to shut its nine offices in foreign locations. Praveen Gupta, Managing Director, Retail, and Banking stated that the decision is taken as a part of the rationalization of overseas operations.
SBI which is country's largest lender has operations in about 36 countries with nearly 190 branches. The bank has earlier closed about six branches already in the last two years as the company did not find it commercially viable. Gupta was quoted in media saying that "Branch rationalization is an ongoing process. I think every branch has to justify its existence. So unless it is commercially viable, it doesn't make sense for us to be operating particularly in foreign locations. "
The move to re-look foreign operations was approved as part of the banking sector’s agenda in November last year. Public lenders were asked to examine all their 216 overseas operations and shut down the ones that were not viable.
By March 2018, state-owned banks had closed down 35 overseas branches and representative offices as part of the clean-and-responsible banking initiative. Bank of India, Andhra Bank, IDBI Bank and Indian Overseas Bank closed down Dubai operations, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank and Union Bank of India shut their Shanghai offices. Bank of India also closed down operations in Yangon and Botswana, while Bank of Baroda and Indian Overseas Bank shut their Hong Kong branch.