of Baroda started its overseas journey by opening its first
branch way back in 1953 in Mombassa, Kenya. Since then the
bank has come a long way in expanding its international
network to serve NRIs/PIOs and locals.
Today, it has transformed into Indias international
It has significant international presence with a network
of 63 offices in 21 countries including 43 branches of the
bank, 17 branches of its six subsidiaries and three representative
offices in Malaysia, China and Thailand. The bank also has
one joint venture in Zambia with nine branches.
The bank has presence in worlds major financial centres,
that is, New York, London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Brussels and
Bank of Baroda is further in the process of identifying/opening
more overseas centres for increasing its global presence
to serve its 29 million global customers in still better
The bank has recently upgraded its operations in Hong Kong
on April 2, and now offers full banking service through
its two branches at Central and Tsim Sha Tsui. It would
also be upgrading its operations to full banking service
in China and through JV in Malaysia shortly.
The bank, which has received approval to open operations
in T&T, has similar intentions for Australia and Ghana
for which permission /in principle approvals from host country
regulators have been received.
It is also in process of establishing offices in Canada,
New Zealand, Isle of Man, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi
Arabia, Mozambique, Russia. It also has plans to extend
its reach in existing countries of operations in United
Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Botswana.
banking powerhouse hopes to spice up financial sector
welcomes Bank of Baroda
Kharat, managing director of the Bank of Baroda (T&T).
Photos: Shirley Bahadur
In a country where banks are like affiliations, Indias
Bank of Baroda will attempt conversion.
It intends to open offices at Furness Building, Independence
Square, Port-of-Spain, in October. Some of the services
its considering offering is: 12-, even 24-hour banking,
real time transfer of funds from one continent to another
and financing of agriculture projects.
And its not daunted by the giants in the local financial
The robust industry already boasts of four major commercial
banksFirst Citizens, Scotiabank, RBTT, Republicand
several corporate based institutions: Citibank, AIC Financial,
Intercommercial and FirstCaribbean.
Instead, Baroda is hoping to combine its 100 years of banking
experience in more than 21 countries, as a way to propel
the industry into maturity.
the industry is vibrant, it is not mature. There is still
tremendous scope to develop, said Kishor Kharat, managing
director of the Bank of Baroda (T&T), in an interview
with the Business Guardian at his temporary offices at Nelco
Properties on Edward Street, Port-of-Spain, on Tuesday.
banks are not coming forward to give certain services or
handle certain types of projects. How then can it be mature?
There is no risk. We intend to take that risk and intend
to force growth and help with the mature process.
industry is classified just as the country
Baroda received a provisional licence from the Central Bank
in February and is expecting its final licence by month
end. With this limitation, there was only so much information
Kharat could divulge, but promised that more will be revealed
closer to the launch.
He said T&T was one of four locations that the company
was setting up shop to have a global presence in five continents.
The other countries are:
It also intends to expand operations to Canada, Japan, France
and Houston, USA.
He said 35 per cent of the banks profits come from
its international operations of just 60 branches.
Barodas interest was first expressed by former Indian
High Commissioner, Virendra Gupta, as a way to increase
trade between the two countries. And while Indian trade
fairs and concerts featuring Indian artists are popular,
the bank will be a footprint that cements the relationship.
Two factors that contributed to their interest in setting
up shop in T&T were the economys growth and its
growth potential and as well as a stable government. These
two factors, he pointed out, bode well for new businesses
and a demand on the financial services available.
Baroda will offer full-fledged banking services complete
with ATMs and it will be successful, predicted Kharat.
secrets to our success is to tap into areas which are now
untapped by the present market. These untapped segments
are what we will be looking at as our business strategy.
Kharat has had 30 years of banking service with Baroda and
was setting up its operations in Australia when he was asked
to set up the T&T base.
He recalled he was in India when Minister of Trade and Industry,
Ken Valley, visited the country with a business delegation
and handed over the provisional licence.
I was a bit disappointed, but Trinidad is a place where
there is a lot of absorption capacity. What I mean, is that
it is easy to get into the culture.
While the company has encountered challenges, it is what
Kharat described as encouraging challenges.
are keeping ourselves at pace with development.
Baroda will begin operations with $50 million with the focus
on middle-income group and small businesses.
services grow, we will have to bring in more capital in
the short term. I already realise that I will need to bring
in more capital.
will start with expatriates at the senior level and have
already employed some people at all levels. Our intention
is to gradually have locals at all seniors positions.
In surveying the local financial landscape, Kharat believes
there is still room for growth of such supportive services
as foreign direct investment and foreign institution investment.
He said Trinidads most immediate challenge was its
projects are suffering because there is a lack of manpower
to meet deadlines. In my own circumstance, we were supposed
to have the building in Furness ready by mid-June, now it
has been pushed back to October. All growth will be in the
Asked what aspect of banking he enjoyed the most, he paused,
then explained that he could not give a partial opinion.
flair is for credit.
I worked in the rural areas, I would enjoy going to the
fields, and when I worked in the urban areas, I would get
involved in the city life. Wherever I go, I get fascinated
Waxing philosophical on banking, he is confident about the
sustainability of Baroda in the marketplace.
banks are established with limited population to attract
them. The difference is in the delivery of service and the
types of services. Banking cannot be mushroomed unless you
have a lot of products.
Kharat is aware it will take Baroda time to make its mark,
but is confident of the image it now has in the market.
I look at the population, I understand that most are immigrants
from other areas. They are all descendents from other countries
and have formed a unity in diversity. What Baroda has is
an international presence in many markets and we will be
able to utilise our knowledge of all these markets to help
serve the needs of our customers.
am looking forward to our operations, We have a really good
One of the first undertaking when he reached Trinidad was
to meet with the chief executives of the different banks.
wanted to establish ourselves a friend. We are not a competitor.
We just want to enjoy the business.