Our Bureau

Kolkata, July 25

STATE Bank of India is eyeing four overseas banks as targets for acquisition. This is part of the bank's plan to increase its international exposure.

SBI, which recently took over banks in Indonesia and Mauritius, hopes to scale up its global assets, which currently stand at about $13 billion, to $26 billion in the next couple of years.

The four banks targeted by it are all mid-sized, indicated Mr T.S. Bhattacharya, MD of SBI, adding that a due diligence exercise would soon be wrapped up.

He declined to divulge the identity of the banks.

The country's premier bank, incidentally, is seeking to attain HSBC's size by 2008.

SBI has lately tried to step up its international presence, courtesy a number of new overseas offices, including ones that have been recently established in various centres.

SBI, nearer home, is witnessing an increase in ATM usage - about Rs 3,500 crores is currently being dispensed through ATMs every month. Retail credit, incidentally, is expected to see a further boost, given consumption patterns that are quickly emerging in Indian society.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 26, 2005)
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