Sunday, August 2, 2009

South Indian Bank takes major strides in the north

Call it a case of an institution outgrowing the dreams of its founders, and even its brand name.

Thrissur-based South Indian Bank – whose founders dreamed that the institution would grow beyond the borders of Kerala and have a presence all over south India and named it accordingly – is witnessing a rapid expansion of branches in the north and in a few years will have a significant percentage of its branches in the north, west and east of the country.

The bank opened its 300th branch in Kerala here today, taking the national branch count to 546, but more significant is the bank’s swift expansion of network in the north. Last year it opened a branch in Jammu, and over the past month new branches have been opened at Faridabad, Najafgarh and Indirapuram. Also on the bank’s radar are centers like Shillong, Meerut, Bhilai and Jamshedpur, among other locations.

“We are planning eight more branches in and around Delhi and with a string of new branches across the country in the recent past, we are now present in 25 states”, SIB managing director V A Joseph told ET.

Not content with its current network of branches that will reach 575 at the end of this fiscal when 29 more are added by March 2010, SIB has chalked out a 4-year plan that will see the branch network reach 750 by 2013. Of the 250 branches that will be opened between 2010 and 2013, as many as 150 will be in the north of the country, throwing another puzzle about the very brand name of the bank.

“We are adding branches at a quick pace, but fact remains that a vast section of the people in the country is still to have any reasonable access to a bank branch”, says Mr Joseph.

According to the bank’s projections, by 2013 the target is to reach business volumes of Rs 75,000 crore, a branch network that is 750 strong, the same number of ATMs, and an employee strength of 7,500.

Mr Joseph said the bank would continue recruiting in the range of roughly 600 staffers per year leading up to 2013, to reach the employee level of 7,500 by that year.

SIB had a net profit of Rs 60.11 crore for the first quarter of the current fiscal, up 56% from the Rs 38.62 crore net profit in the corresponding period last year.

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