PNB files application to open branches in Lahore, Karachi
New Delhi: State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) has filed an application with the Reserve Bank to open branches in Lahore and Karachi, while SBI and Bank of India have also expressed keenness to start operations in Pakistan.
The branches of Indian banks in Pakistan will help in facilitating trade and commerce between the neighbours.
The move also assumes significance in the backdrop of steps taken by India and Pakistan to normalise the bilateral trade.
"Bank regulators from both the sides have met on the issue. I think, PNB has filed an application to open branches in Karachi and Lahore. State Bank of India and Bank of India have also evinced interest to start operations in Pakistan," an official said.
PNB had started its operations from Lahore in 1895. It, however, its headquarters to Delhi in 1947.
When contacted, a PNB official confirmed that the bank has filed the application.
The banks will have to look at the financial viability and other issues while opening branches in Pakistan, official said adding that some of the Pakistan banks are also interested in setting up branches in India.
"The RBI will also have to look at issues like structure of the Pakistani banks, who want to start operation in India," the official said.
Two Pakistani banks -- NBP and Habib Bank - are keen to open branches in India.
In Singapore, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Yaseen Anwar has yesterday said that both the nations have agreed to allow two banks each from both the countries to set up branches across the border.