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July 30, 2006

Foreign banks in India: Are they preparing for 2009?

Businessworld has a cover story on the strategies adopted by Citibank, HSBC and StanChart in the run up 2009.

India has traditionally been a bit of a sideshow for the world’s banking giants, thanks largely to the severe restrictions placed on them here. That is likely to change over the next few years in accordance with the February 2005 Reserve Bank of India (RBI) roadmap. About a thousand days from now, foreign banks will be given the same freedom to open branches, acquire competitors and plan for growth that their domestic counterparts now have. The contours of the Indian banking landscape are expected to change dramatically after 1 April 2009. It’s no surprise that the three biggest foreign banks in India — Citibank, HSBC and Standard Chartered — are now getting ready to play a bigger role in the Indian economy.

Interestingly, none of the executives quoted in the article have talked specifically about April 2009. Makes me wonder why? Do these CEOs beleive that this date is not as important as the media makes it to be?

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence, which tracks private equity and venture capital in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.