Axis Bank sets up operations in Dubai



Axis Bank, a leading private sector bank in India, opened its representative office in Dubai yesterday as part of its strategy to expand into other regional markets, a senior bank official said yesterday.

The bank already has an offshore banking unit in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

"We have presence in Singapore, Hong Kong and DIFC. The new representative office in Dubai will also increase presence in the GCC region. We have plans to be a pan-Asian bank through our expansions in regional markets. We believe as Indian companies go global, the banking services should also go global," said Chairman and CEO PJ Nayak.

"The representative office in Dubai will cover important banking services, including retail deposits, retail borrowing, remittance market, financial services such as insurance and mutual funds, and asset management. We are targeting non-resident Indians in the UAE and other GCC countries through offering all banking products in India," Nayak said.

He said new developments in the bank would give its services a boost, especially in the remittance market. "With our advanced systems money can be transferred within few seconds through online services. We have conducted studies that show that currently remittance takes up to five days but we will offer a fast service and charge fees for quick transfers that would be less than the market average."

The representative office, along with the DIFC branch, will offer both Indian and global products to its customers, through strategic alliance with Rothschild Bank.

The bank will offer private banking services for high net-worth Indian individuals in the region. He said private banking services in DIFC will start operating next October.

"We have a long-term alliance with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and RAK Bank. This alliance has placed Axis Bank in a strong competitive position in the UAE. We also have an alliance with Doha Bank in Qatar and we plan to strengthen our presence there," Nayak added.

It recorded a net profit of $270 million (Dh990.9m) during the last fiscal year, which ended March 31.

"This is a 50 per cent increase in net profit compared to the previous year. Axis total assets also increased to $27 billion.

"We expect high profits this year, which will reach around 40 per cent growth rate. We plan to open 200 branches in India this year to achieve our target of 900 branches," he added.

Vinod George, President of International Banking at Axis Bank, said remittances will keep increasing to India as long as investment opportunities increase.

The amount remitted to India reached around $31bn last year, including $3bn to $4bn from the GCC.