08 november 2003
house agents licensing rules to be amended
new delhi: custom house agents (cha) licensing
rules are to be amended by the government to streamline
operations to boost exports and imports, according to
the minister of state for finance, shripad naik.
addressing the custom house agents association, naik said
that the ministry was in the process of building up a
consensus for bringing about necessary changes in the
cha licensing regulations of 1984. ``my vision is to install
a truly faceless, yet humane system, where offices of
the exporters, importers, custom house agents and customs
department are electronically linked, and exports and
imports grow by leaps and bounds,'' he said. customs department
had taken up a conmputerisation drive and launched a new
module `icegate' for registering shipping bills online.
four pvt banks can accept indirect taxes
mumbai: in addition to direct tax collections and
pension disbursements, another pie where new age private
banks have been permitted to dip their hands into indirect
taxes - excise and service tax collections.
traditionally an area exclusive to state-run banks, the
presence of new private sector banks is expected to usher
in competition and ensure "all round better service'',
possibly denting the share of the market leader, state
bank of india.
the four institution-backed banks icici bank, hdfc
bank, uti bank and idbi bank will commence indirect
tax collections in 13 commissionerates on a pilot basis
from november 15.
this permission is exclusive to the four institution-backed
new private banks, which were permitted to collect direct
income-tax, disburse pensions and handle expenditure related
functions of all central government ministries/departments
from october 1. these four banks may soon be permitted
to gather customs duties, but there are some technical
issues to be sorted out with relation to the collection
banks are also in negotiations with various state governments
to collect sales tax. private banks are enthusiastic about
governmental business and say "it's a matter of pride
to be recognised by and to be associated with the government,''
said a senior hdfc bank official. on the commercial front
is the commission paid at rs 1.18 per rs 1,000 of turnover,
which is quite attractive. negotiations are under way
for increasing the commission fees, but reserve bank of
india seems to be of the opinion that the present fees
are too high and is unlikely to raise the same, said a
drops deposit rates
mumbai: state bank of india has decided to lower
its deposit rates by 25 to 50 basis points across maturities
with effect from november 10. interest rates on domestic
term deposits with a maturity of 15-45 days have been
lowered by 25 basis points to 4 per cent, for 46-179 days
4.50 per cent (5.00 per cent), for 180 days to less than
one year 4.75 per cent (5.25 per cent), for one year to
less than two years 5 per cent (5.50 per cent), for two
years to less than three years 5.75 per cent (5.25 per
cent) and for three years and above 5.50 per cent (6 per
cent). interest rates on deposits with a maturity of 7-14
days remain unchanged at 4 per cent.
deposit rates for senior citizens have also been revised
downwards by 50 basis points. rates on deposits with a
maturity of one year to less than two years is 5.50 per
cent (6 per cent), for two years to less than three years
5.75 per cent (6.25 per cent), for three years and above
6 per cent (6.50 per cent).
indusind plans 20 more branches
visakhapatnam: indusind bank is planning to open
20 more branches during the current financial year and
the half-yearly net profit of the bank has gone up to
rs 100.87 crore from rs 42.86 crore during the corresponding
period last year.
this was stated by the assistant vice-president of the
bank, k.s. sastry, at a press meet at the gajuwaka branch
near here on tuesday. he said it translated into an annualised
eps of 9.16 on an equity base of rs 220 crore. the capital
adequacy ratio of the bank stood at 17.55 per cent (15.75
per cent). he said the bank had opened 15 new branches
of late and four additional extension counters, taking
the total to 56 branches and 12 counters in the country.
the bank had set up 32 off-site atms during the year,
taking the total to 77.
bonanza for farmers from banks
bangalore: buoyed by a good monsoon, several state-run
banks are stepping up their rural credit disbursement
initiatives in karnataka. most of the new schemes are
floated to trigger farm equipment financing while canara
bank has signed a pact with nabard to co-finance the agriculture
state bank of india has tied up with vst tractors and
tillers to finance purchase of power tillers. the company
would offer a discount of rs 15,000 to farmers who buy
tillers under this scheme and the bank would offer an
interest of 10 per cent on the amount financed. margin
money to be brought by the farmer would be five per cent
of the cost of the tiller. the repayment period is pegged
at nine years with one-year grace. close to 200 branches
of the 310 branches in karnataka offer agriculture financingof
rs 820 crore.
recently, same deutz-fahr signed a pact with state bank
of mysore, wherein the bank would finance 90 per cent
of the invoice value of tractors to farmers at 10.5 per
cent on reducing balance. it would also extend finance
up to 90 per cent on tractor-operated implements such
as trailer, cultivator, rotovator, front-end dozer and
loaders. collateral security needed to finance tractor
is minimum of four acre of irrigated land or six acre
of dry land. as part of this scheme, same dealers would
bear the insurance cost of the tractor.
canara bank's joint effort with nabard aims to finance
rural projects with large outlays. under this arrangement,
the institutions will jointly entertain loan proposals
for term loans as well as working capital.
07 november 2003
signs tripartite pact with govt, sidbi
hyderabad: the andhra pradesh state financial corporation
(apsfc) has announced here on thursday that it has entered
into a tripartite memorandum of understanding (mou) with
the small industries development bank of india (sidbi)
and the state government, as a part of the restructuring
exercise of the corporation. according to an apsfc press
release here, the mou was signed by the sidbi chief general
manager, g.a. nayak, the andhra pradesh industries and
commerce principal secretary, k.v. rao, and the apsfc
managing director, ratan p. watal.
the mou complements the ongoing internal restructuring
measures initiated by the corporation during the last
two years and would provide added impetus to the improved
performance of the corporation, the release said. according
to the corporation, the pact was a result of the relief
package announced by the central government and sidbi,
the unequivocal financial and other support extended by
the ap government and the determined efforts of the corporation
to bring about a turnaround and become competitive.
the central government had earlier (during august this
year) unveiled a relief package for restructuring of state
financial corporations (sfcs) in the country. the package
offers 2 per cent per annum interest rate concession on
all existing refinance loans and 2 per cent interest rebate
for prompt repayment of all future refinance loans availed
by sfcs from sidbi.
according to the apsfc managing director, watal, the state
government has already agreed to allocate rs 6 crore towards
equity of the corporation for the current fiscal and to
consider equity allocations for future years also based
on performance review. the government has also agreed
to extend guarantees to the slr and non-slr bonds and
other borrowings required for funding the loans sanctioned
by the apsfc, he said. watal said the corporation has
agreed to initiate certain internal restructuring measures
and show performance improvement in the areas of recovery,
cost reduction and containment of non-performing assets
in respect of fresh sanctions.
the mou with sidbi comes into effect from april 1 this
year and would be in operation for a period of five years
or till the corporation was fully restructured/recapitalised,
whichever was later, watal said. stating that the validity
of the mou might be extended by mutual consultations,
he said the performance of the corporation would be reviewed
once a year or at such intervals sidbi and the state government
might direct as.
call to hike non-interest income
mangalore: efforts should be made to increase non-interest
income as the demand for credit was not picking up and
interest rate war was fierce, the chairman and managing
director of karnataka bank ltd, ananthakrishna, has said.
participating in the regional review conference of the
bank in mangalore on thursday, he said the need of the
hour is to safeguard the interest of advances by constant
monitoring. judicious selection of parties and activities
will help minimise risk and contribute to bank's profit,
he said, and added that the soundness of a bank is judged
by its profit and the health of advances. stating that
past and present performance of the bank is a pointer
to the future, ananthakrishna urged the regional heads
to play a crucial role.
lord krishna bank keen to get strategic investors
new delhi: lord krishna bank is looking at all
options, including offering a stake to a foreign partner,
to increase its capital base by rs 35 crore - rs 50 crore
this fiscal. ashwani k. puri, promoter-director of the
kochi-based bank, said, "the first choice would be
to offer fresh equity to strategic investors. two or three
major foreign banks have evinced interest. we are considering
it." the bank plans to offer fresh equity to the
foreign banks in return for technology and expertise.
other options include a rights issue or an initial public
offer. currently, the puris of mohan exports and the burmans
of dabur india hold about 65 per cent stake in the bank.
"we are planning either a tier-ii bonds issue or
a rights issue of about rs 35 crore - rs 50 crore this
fiscal," the bank's managing director, r.m. nayak,
said. the bank's capital adequacy ratio is at about 13
per cent now, but the bank may require fresh capital to
sustain its business, which is slated to grow by 100 per
cent to about rs 5,000 crore this fiscal. puri said the
bank aimed at rs 20,000-crore business by march 2007.
the bank had also applied to the reserve bank of india
for opening branches in afghanistan and planned foray
into ghana, sudan and mozambique, he said. it planned
to open 14 new branches and 20 extension counters across
the country by may 2004. the bank also has a tie-up with
visa to offer debit cards. to offer mutual fund products,
it has tied up with lic mutual fund, sbi mutual, prudential
icici and some others.
icici bank gets uk licence, opens arm in london
mumbai: icici bank ltd has gained a uk banking
licence to set up its first subsidiary overseas, icici
bank uk ltd. with its first branch abroad located at knightsbridge,
london, icici bank uk is currently the only locally incorporated
banking subsidiary among indian banks in the uk, said
a press release from the bank.
the bank has also formed a partnership with uk-based lloyds
tsb plc; thereby customers of icici bank can open and
access their current and savings accounts through the
2,200 branches of the uk bank. non-resident indians and
persons of indian origin customers can also transfer funds
to icici bank accounts in india.
icici bank uk will initially be targeting three commercial
business areas: commercial banking support for small and
medium corporates in the uk, trade finance in support
of trade flow between the uk and india, corporate finance
as part of its international banking division, the bank
inaugurated its overseas offshore branch in singapore
and an obu in mumbai in addition to representative offices
in shanghai, dubai and new york and has received approval
for opening a wholly-owned subsidiary in canada.
06 november 2003
allianz h1 premium income touches rs 218 cr
mumbai: bajaj allianz general insurance has earned
a premium income of rs 218 crore for the half-year ended
september 30, 2003, a 70-per cent increase over the corresponding
period of the previous year at rs128 crore. net profit
grew to rs15.3 crore (rs 7..1 crore). the company achieved
this growth by balancing the portfolio in terms of retail
and corporate business, said a press release. bajaj allianz
plans to widen its distribution network and invest in
the latest it platforms.
rbi trims rates on ridf deposits, loans
mumbai: the reserve bank of india has rationalised
the interest rate structure under the rural infrastructure
development fund (ridf) and revised lending and deposit
rates in respect of the undisbursed amounts of ridf-iv
to ix effective from november 1, 2003.
pfc plans to float rs 500-cr venture capital fund
new delhi: power finance corporation (pfc) is planning
to float a venture capital fund, india power fund, with
a corpus of rs 500 crore. "we plan to raise the monies
from financial institutions, banks and central power sector
undertakings like national thermal power corporation,
etc, by the middle of 2004," a senior pfc official
said. sbi capital markets ltd has been hired to draw up
the business plans for the ipf and is expected to submit
its report in a week's time.
royal sundaram joins hands with ing vysya financial
bangalore: royal sundaram alliance insurance company
ltd has tied up with ing vysya financial services ltd,for
distribution of non-life risk cover products. the venture
would need to be approved by the insurance regulatory
and development authority. however, the tie-up would not
imply any cross distribution of financial products. this
was because the regulatory still did not permit such arrangements
in the country. ing vysya bank has close to about 500
branches in the country and almost 200 of them fully networked.
icici prulife premium income up 170 per cent
mumbai: icici prudential life insurance recorded
a premium income of rs 184 crore, during the half year
ended september 30, clocking a growth of 170 per cent
over rs 68 crore in the corresponding period of the previous
05 november 2003
launches two deposit schemes
new delhi: punjab national bank (pnb) has launched
two new deposit products - pnb smart roamer and pnb prudent
sweep. current account holders under the pnb smart roamer
will now get fd interest rate automatically whenever their
balance exceeds rs 1 lakh in multiples of rs 10,000. under
the pnb prudent sweep, customers would get fd rate of
interest on a balance of over rs 50,000 in multiples of
bank debit card for accountholders
bangalore: the public sector canara bank has launched
its debit card for its account holders in the country.
r.v. shastri, chairman and managing director of the bank
said the bank was targeting a customer base of one million
before the end of the current fiscal year. the debit card
is offered free of charge to its depositors.
the debit card, he said, could be used to draw cash from
any of the banks atm (automatic teller machines) in the
country. itcould also be operated from any of the visa-affiliated
atms across the country. the bank simultaneously launched
its branded group insurance cover savings suraksha. the
cover is being provided by its bancassurance partner,
aviva life insurance company ltd.
the cover would be offered to the bank's savings and term
deposit holders. this value-added service comes to all
depositors' in the age group 18-55 at their option and
cost. the scheme assures rs 1 lakh for individual savings
bank/term deposit account holders, with additional cover
of rs 1 lakh for accidental death.
fis should invest only in rated securities, says rbi
mumbai: financial institutions should invest only
in rated securities, which carry a minimum investment
grade rating from a credit rating agency registered with
sebi, according to the draft guidelines issued by the
rbi on tuesday. the fis should not invest in unrated securities.
according to the guidelines for fis on investments in
non-government debt securities, the investment grade rating
should have been awarded by an external rating agency,
operating in india, as identified by the iba or fimmda.
the list of such agencies would also be reviewed by the
iba and fimmda at least once a year.
the fis should not invest in debt securities of original
maturity of less than one-year other than commercial paper
and certificates of deposits, which are covered under
the rbi guidelines and should undertake usual due diligence
in respect of investments in debt securities. the fis
must ensure that all fresh investments in debt securities
are made only in listed debt securities of companies,
which comply with the requirements of the sebi.
boi to set up more atms in vizag zone
visakhapatnam: bank of india, visakhapatnam zone,
is planning to set up two more atms, one here and the
other at guntur, by the end of the financial year. this
was stated by the zonal manager, j.r.v prasad, at a press
meet here on tuesday. he said the zone's business turnover
touched rs 849 crore during the past six months and earned
a net profit of rs 16.92 crore.
the priority sector advances amounted to rs 265.56 crore
and per-employee business had risen from 1.36 crore last
year to rs 1.60 crore.
uti bank to open captive call centre
mumbai: uti bank is to open a captive call centre
to be operational in the next financial year.
the call centre will have a staff strength of between
50 and 75 people and be based in mumbai.
the bank has also decided to open six rural branches by
this fiscal-end three each in andhra pradesh and
according to s. bhattacharya, senior vice-president (human
resources), the bank discovered that despite having an
interactive voice recording system, employees spent a
great deal of time answering calls from customers regarding
the bank's services. the call centre will handle "inward
services" manning the service centre and helplines.
the setting up of the centre will likely lead to greater
productivity among the sales staff, it is believed. the
bank is also on an expansion spree. it opened two branches
sun life, kvb in agreement
chennai: birla sun life insurance has entered into
an agreement with karur vysya bank (kvb) here on tuesday,
under which the bank will sell birla sun life's insurance
policies. officials said that the bank was expected to
earn a premium income of rs 1.5 crore this fiscal year.
in the next year, first full year of partnership, birla
sun would earn a premium of rs 5 crore through the kvb
04 november 2003
interest rates left unchanged in credit policy
mumbai: the rbi helmsman, dr y. venugopal reddy,
on monday left key interest rates untouched.
the mid-term review of monetary and credit policy 2003-04
has left unchanged the bank rate, cash reserve ratio and
the overnight repo rate while gdp for the current year
has been pegged higher at 6.50-7 per cent "with an
upward bias". the policy, perceived to be cautious
and non-populist, has forecast a stable interest regime
for quite some time though for the common man there is
nothing on offer.
in an interactive session with the media here today following
his maiden credit policy, a jovial dr reddy said, "dr
jalan's measures in the april policy have all served the
economy well there is no need to tinker with it... there
is every reason to continue the same stance." he
said a review of the economy indicated all "very,
very positive developments" compared to the trends
in april 2003, like an upward gdp, downward inflation,
improvement in the investment climate, strong sentiment
in the financial markets, expectation of credit growth
and strength in the external sector.
in the last policy of april 2003, dr bimal jalan had reduced
the bank rate to 6 per cent from 6.25 per cent and in
february 2003, the repo rate had been snipped to 4.5 per
cent (5 per cent).
the cash reserve ratio has been left untouched this time
at 4.5 per cent in view of the current liquidity situation
although the objective to reduce the same to 3 per cent
continues, states today's policy.
the central bank is upbeat on the gdp growth rate; it
has upped its projection to 6.5-7 per cent, with an upward
bias, over the earlier number of 6 per cent. the policy
rationale: "it is reasonable to expect higher gdp
growth based on the growth prospects across the sectors
of the economy, and assuming the continuance of good performance
in industry and some acceleration in exports reflecting
the anticipated global economic recovery."
inflation rate, on a point-to-point basis is expected
to be lower at 4-4.5 per cent, with a downward bias, down
from previous projections of 5 to 5.5 per cent. lower
inflation rate figures could fuel hopes for rate cuts
in the future, say bankers.
on unhedged exposures in the foreign exchange market,
which has been a nagging concern, the rbi has mandated
banks to hedge all foreign currency loans to corporates
above $10 million except for exporters who have a natural
a timeline has been laid out for the implementation of
the real time gross settlement system (rtgs), with the
fully functional rtgs system expected to be operational
by june 2004 with the stand-alone system being operationalised
in january 2004.
the rbi is putting up for public debate a "report
of the internal group on liquidity adjustment facility
(laf)." it could see modifications to laf and the
open market operations of the central bank. the suggestions,
the policy said would be taken into consideration in finalising
the guidelines on this liquidity-modulating instrument.
hedging made compulsory for foreign currency loans over
mumbai: corportes will have to hedge all foreign
currency loans above $10 million. in its mid-term review
of the credit policy, the rbi has made hedging mandatory
for all foreign currency loans. according to the rbi,
unhedged corporate borrowings have been a cause for concern
over the past couple of years. aside from the significant
risk entailed to corporate balance sheets, it is also
likely to impact the asset quality of banks in some cases.
however, banks are allowed not to insist on a hedge, in
cases where forex loans are extended to finance exports,
and the borrower has uncovered receivables to cover the
loan amount. hedging is also not insisted upon, in cases
where forex loans are extended for meeting forex expenditure.
speaking to presspersons here on monday, dr y.v.reddy,
rbi governor, said, "earlier we were urging and exhorting,
but now we are making it amply clear.''
the apex bank's latest measure has evoked mixed reactions
from bankers. while a section of bankers have already
been insisting on borrowers hedging their foreign currency
loans, some others are of the opinion that such a measure
from the rbi will impede corporate liberty to act on its
own view on the currency.
03 november 2003
scouting for strategic partner; may enter pension funds
new delhi: ifci ltd is getting back on its feet
and could be up and running soon. with renewed confidence
backed by steady improvement in financials, the institution
has commenced talks with foreign and domestic entities
for induction of a strategic partner. the development
financial institution is also exploring the possibility
of foraying into the pension market as a pension fund
manager (pfm). "we are keenly watching the pension
would like to bid for one of the slots that would be on
offer for pension fund managers," the chairman and
managing director of ifci, v.p. singh, said. singh said
that talks with others institutions for entering a strategic
partnership has been initiated recently since there was
a feeling within ifci that there could now be sufficient
interest in partnering ifci in view of the improvement
in its financials. "we have started talks with a
few foreign and domestic institutions. the tie-up could
be equity partnership or by way of liquidity support.
this financial year could be crucial for this," singh
said, hinting that the tie-up could be finalised within
the next few months.
the institution has kept such talks in abeyance fearing
that the massive losses on its balance sheet would frighten
possible partners. ifci cut its losses in the first quarter
of the current fiscal to rs 86 crore against rs 221 crore
in the corresponding period in the previous fiscal. the
net loss for fiscal 2002-03 was rs 260 crore against a
loss of rs 880 crore in the previous year. singh said
the process of prioritising the institution's bad assets
that would be progressively handed over to the asset reconstruction
companies (arcs) promoted by ifci - asset care enterprise
(ace) - is in an advanced stage.
ifci chief said that the institution plans to restrict
its future lending activity to "brownfield projects"
instead of "greenfield" start-ups. "we
would also like to concentrate on non-fund based activities,"
singh said. on the ongoing voluntary retirement scheme,
he said that it was primarily aimed at weeding out non-professionals
from the institution. "we have a small staff strength
of about 850 people. what we are aiming at is not a reduction
of staff but an increase in the percentage of skilled
and professional staff," he said.
bank h1 net rises 107 pc
mumbai: central bank of india has recorded a 107.27
per cent growth in net profit for the half-year ended
september 30, 2003, at rs 273.33 crore, as compared to
rs 131.87 crore in the same period last year. total income
of the bank during this period grew to rs 3,027.85 crore
(rs 2,746.83 crore) which is inclusive of interest earned
at rs 2,493.33 crore (rs 2,523.98 crore) and other income
at rs 534.52 crore (rs 222.85 crore). total expenditure
of the bank was at rs 2,271.95 crore (rs 2,341.69 crore),
which was inclusive of interest expended at rs 1,492.40
crore (rs 1,602.10 crore) and operating expenses at rs
779.55 crore (rs 739.59 crore).
bank eyes coimbatore region for expansion
coimbatore: centurion bank is eyeing salem, tiruchy
and erode in coimbatore region as potential centres for
establishing its presence. having established a branch
in coimbatore, the bank is now contemplating to open a
few extension counters here very soon, bank sources said.
at present, the bank has 6 branches, 8 asset-marketing
offices, 5 extension counters and 26 atms in tamil nadu.
credit deposit ratio of the bank in tn is said to be 98
per cent with a business mix of rs 484 cr. bank sources
said that the coimbatore branch alone recorded an operating
profit of rs 21 cr during the current year.
home finance to open 9 branches
coimbatore: repco home finance ltd, a subsidiary
of repco (the repatriates cooperative finance and development
bank ltd) bank, plans to open nine new branches during
the current fiscal.
present, it has a network of 13 branches in south india
and an additional 11 repco home centres operating at its
bank branches. the home finance arm of the bank is targeting
at disbursing rs 150 crore towards home loans in the 2003-04
fiscal. the sanctions till end september were rs 116 cr,
while the disbursements touched rs 100 cr. repco offers
special schemes for employees of government or blue chip
companies, working women and professionals, repatriates,
in addition to 50 plus and super loan schemes.. government
employees on the verge of retirement would be able to
avail loan under 50 plus scheme. under super loan scheme,
the legal heirs could construct house on their parental
to handle uti bank recruitments
mumbai: uti bank has teamed up with monsterindia.com,
the online recruitment network, to handle its recruitment
needs. according to s. bhattacharya, senior vice-president,
human resources, uti ank, the bank was rapidly expanding
and found it increasingly difficult to handle the sheer
volume of applications for various openings. the tie-up
was a "smarter way to handle" the recruitments.
applicants apply via an online format, and the applications
are sorted out through a predetermined set of criteria
specified by uti bank.
jobs will be posted on uti bank's web site, and simultaneously
on monsterindia's as well. for the bank, the benefits
are two-fold. while the system has only come alive in
the last two months, costs have fallen, and are expected
to fall by about 80 per cent annually, mainly due to the
reduced dependence on print advertisements and related
costs. the tie-up would ensure a sufficient number of
applicants and the quality desired. bhattacharya estimated
that the bank' s `time'-costs involved in processing the
applications would be halved. however, uti bank will still
rely on head hunters for specialised positions. the web
site is designed, hosted and maintained by monster india
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