Plea for WOS nod pending with FinMin: DBS

21 May 2017

Singaporean lender DBS, the first to apply for operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary two years ago, has said its request is pending with the Ministry of Finance and the lack of a precedent is causing delays.
"A new category of banks have to be created...100 per cent owned foreign banks do not exist. With the first bank (license), a new category of banks will get created. It is still a new thing," DBS chief executive for India, Surojit Shome told PTI when asked about the delay in getting the nod.
At the time of making the application, the bank had expected approvals to come by March 2016.
Shome hinted that their application has been approved by the Reserve Bank and is pending in the Ministry of Finance at present, which has to take a call on it after consulting other ministries, including Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of External Affairs.
When asked if issues faced by Indian banks while operating in its home market of Singapore are impeding progress, Shome replied in the negative.
"We don't think so. If it was, those issues were discussed between RBI and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and there are no issues that we are aware of," he said.
Shome said DBS, which operates 12 branches in the country at present with over a million customers, is very keen on getting a clearance on the same at the earliest.
The bank has drawn up plans of expanding presence in the country in a staggered way which is included in the application submitted, he said.
The RBI has been wanting foreign banks to operate as wholly owned subsidiary (WOS) in the country, which will insulate the local operations from any difficulties which the parent may face.