DBS Bank India, the India arm of DBS Group Holdings, is poised to accelerate its growth plans in the vast Indian market after achieving an important upgrade to its status there.
The bank has won in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to convert its existing franchise in India to a locally incorporated wholly-owned subsidiary (WOS) in the country.
With this local incorporation, DBS India can expand its operations in the country, the group said in a statement yesterday.
DBS Group chief executive Piyush Gupta said: "DBS has been present in India for over 20 years. Over this time, we have grown to become the fifth-largest foreign bank in India (by assets).
"As we look into the future, I believe India's consumption boom, investment and export drive, as well as positive policy action, will further fuel its growth, making it one of the biggest stories in Asia by 2030."
The RBI had said in 2013 it would treat foreign banks operating in the country on nearly equal terms with local lenders if they moved to a wholly owned subsidiary structure, according to Reuters.
DBS India CEO Surojit Shome said: "The RBI's in-principle approval enables us to accelerate our growth plans, significantly expand our operations and build a wider footprint. As a WOS, DBS India will be able to better serve its customers, particularly SMEs, in support of the government's 'Make in India' initiative."
Also yesterday, DBS inaugurated its new India headquarters at the iconic Express Towers in Nariman Point, Mumbai.
Spread across 100,000 sq ft over five floors in Express Towers, the open workspace features "social zones" and reflects DBS' push to embed a start-up culture within the bank, the group said.
DBS added: "It is designed to facilitate greater interaction and ideation among employees, so that they can reimagine the customer journey and turn banking into a joyful experience."
This latest investment follows others made by DBS in India over the past few years. In April last year, DBS launched digibank, a mobile-only bank that has acquired around 1.5 million customers to date.
To strengthen its technological capabilities in the region, as well as support its digital banking strategy, DBS also established DBS Asia Hub 2, its largest technology hub outside Singapore, in Hyderabad last year.
DBS India plans to deepen its relationship with large corporates by offering financing solutions across their entire value chain, it said.
The bank said it will continue to draw on its Asia-wide links to drive profitable growth through cross-border banking solutions.
But it added that a WOS will enable the bank to offer competitive transaction banking and supply chain solutions through specialised offerings that span both cash management and trade finance.