Bank of India has come straight to New Zealand – without stopping in Australia.
One of the largest banks in India, where it has 3,750 branches, the Bank of India opened its first New Zealand branch at the Newmarket end of Market Rd, Auckland this morning.
Offering business and full retail banking services, the bank will compete with rival Indian bank the Bank of Baroda, which started trading in New Zealand last year.
Bank of India (New Zealand) was inaugurated by Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard yesterday with a capitalisation of $50 million – ahead $30 million minimum required to set up a bank in this country.
It is the second Indian bank to be sequentially registered in New Zealand. (Bank of Baroda was the 19th bank registered in the country; Bank of India is the 20th).
Parent Bank of India chairman and managing director Alok Misra said increasing trade between India and New Zealand – now valued at $1 billion a year – meant the time was right to establish a presence in New Zealand.
New Zealand and India have had several rounds of negotiations on a proposed free trade agreement, which Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told the NBR in June would probably be finalised at the end of the first quarter of next year.
The bank will target expatriate Indian and all New Zealanders with a full range of retail banking products including savings and current accounts, cards, term and call deposits, mortgages and international funds transfers.
Officials said a second branch in Wellington was likely to follow soon.
Mr Misra said the bank would also leverage its expertise in financing agriculture and small businesses.
Bank of India was established in 1906 and was privately owned until July 1969 when it was nationalised along with 13 other banks.
The bank is listed on the major Indian Stock Exchanges and has 48 million customers. International business, through its 29 branches abroad, accounts for about17.82% of the bank's total business.
Bank of India (New Zealand) has been rated at BBB- (Stable outlook) by Standard & Poors.