British bank RBS to shut down all retail branches in India
In what virtually ends all of its customer-facing activities in the country, the troubled British lender RBS on Monday said it will be finally closing down its 10 branches serving the retail segment. “We are now in a position to initiate a phased exit of our retail bank branches here” RBS India said without giving a time-line for the exit. The decision to wind up retail banking was in the making ever since the Reserve Bank refused to clear the sale of its branches (then 16) to HSBC India a few years back.
One of the main reasons for the regulatory refusal was HSBC’s decision against converting its branch banking route into a fully-owned subsidiary route as it already has nearly 50 branches. The British lender, which has been facing difficulties in the West following a series of scandals, had earlier announced that it would be withdrawing from the country. The bank, which was very aggressive in the heady days of the early 2000s when the country was on a high growth path, has already sold Rs 1,000 crore of retail loans to Singaporean lender DBS Bank. In a management buyout, it sold the wealth management piece to senior executives last year, while exit from wholesale banking earlier than that.