Money & Banking

DBS Bank India sees V-shaped recovery for Indian economy

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on October 14, 2020 Published on October 14, 2020

To continue with ‘phygital’ approach for expansion in India, says MD Niraj Mittal

DBS Bank India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank, will continue to adopt a ‘phygital’ — a mix of physical and digital outreach — approach to expand in the Indian market even as it redoubles efforts on digitally led fulfilment mode of doing business, said a top official said.

“We realise that a certain amount of physical nearness is also essential if we have to expand and address the SME client base in the country. SME is where the future is and growth will come from,” Niraj Mittal, MD and Country Head - Institutional Banking Group, DBS Bank India, told BusinessLine in an interview.

DBS Bank India has not scaled back or dropped its branch expansion plan, although it may have got pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank had converted from a branch into a wholly owned subsidiary (DBS Bank India Ltd) in March 2019. The foreign bank now has 35 branches (in 25 cities), which will be expanded to 40 by the end of the calendar year, Mittal said.

Scaling up

“We are at a nice space between a foreign bank and a local bank as a locally operated subsidiary. In 2021, our plan is to add another 10 branches. In the next six to nine months, we see scale-up of our business happening in terms of number of customers, presence in wider geographies in terms of physical branches, and flight-to-safety in financial system leading to larger number of customers looking at DBS as an alternative bank,” he said.

Mittal said that Covid-19 has not unduly impacted business operations in India, although credit growth had been muted in the April-June quarter. However, there is now “green shoots” in the economy in recent weeks. “Optimism is returning and there is demand. We are seeing businesses coming back. Momentum will pick up faster than people expect. We are confident of a demand revival, and we do see a V-shaped recovery kicking in. There is already pent-up demand in automobiles, and sectors like speciality chemicals are doing well.”

He expressed confidence that DBS Bank India’s financial performance this fiscal will sustain the momentum of the previous fiscal.

In 2019-20, the first year after its conversion from a branch to a wholly owned subsidiary, DBS Bank India’s net profit grew six-fold to ₹111 crore from ₹14.5 crore in previous year; net revenues grew 24 per cent to ₹1,444 crore (₹1,165 crore in 2018-19).

Opportunities

Mittal also said that there is now perceptible interest among foreign companies to shift their supply chains to India in the post-Covid world and that DBS Bank India is well-positioned to tap such opportunities.

On credit book growth, he said that growth has been calibrated this fiscal as the pandemic effect had played out since March. With business activity across the country coming to a standstill in April-June 2020, the rate of growth became kind of flat.

“Our corporate book, which is below ₹20,000 crore, has seen relatively modest growth, and credit quality has stayed. We have benefited from flight-to-safety and good client selection, and our credit costs are under control. We are hopeful that we should be able to make up for some of the momentum that got compromised in initial months and get back to the growth level we had wanted to.”

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Published on October 14, 2020
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