RBS India pre-tax profit jumps 58% to Rs 662 cr in FY14

Tags: Banking
British lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has posted a 58% jump in pre-tax profit from its India franchise at Rs 662.11 crore in FY14, helped by wholesale banking business.

The bank -- which has 10 retail branches, wealth management business apart from wholesale banking and brokerage unit in India -- said it posted a 60% growth in net profit, but refused to share the absolute number.

"The wholesale banking business grew the top and bottomlines. This includes risk management, lending/arranging debt and transaction banking," RBS India Country Executive Brijesh Mehra told PTI.

He said in spite of the fragile domestic as well as global economic environments, the bank was able to display good performance and added that RBS is among the top five foreign lenders in all the product categories in India.

Mehra said there was a "substantial" decline in the gross non-performing assets ratio as well but again declined to share the actual numbers. He claimed the net NPA ratio is "close to nil".

It has been a mixed bag for foreign banks on earnings front in Asia's third largest economy. Standard Chartered, the largest and oldest in terms of branches, reportedly saw a hefty 46% dip in pre-tax profit, while HSBC reported a 23% fall in operating profit. But others like Citi and Barclays reported a surge in numbers.

Mehra said RBS, which has reduced its focus on the retail banking, will continue to focus on wholesale banking opportunities and the Indo-British trade in specific.

It can be noted that following its failure to sell retail banking, RBS has been winding down its operations in the segment in the country for a few years now.

"Our focus will continue to be on wholesale clients and specifically on the British linkage. With the British economy doing well and the domestic economy upbeat, it is a fantastic opportunity," Mehra said.

Even after the RBI's hard talk on the way forward for foreign lenders with insistence on making them operate as a wholly-owned subsidiaries by offering many a sop, Mehra said RBS is still studying the issue.

"As of now we will continue in the current model with our 10 branches. As and when any regulatory developments take place, we will look at them," he said, adding "the regulatory environment in India should remain stable.

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