London, Jan 21: Defying the current turmoil in the
banking sector in the West, public sector Indian lender Punjab
National Bank plans to expand its operation in the UK, beside
eyeing a five-million-dollar profit from the country's
"This year we will be making a profit of 4 to 5 million
dollar from our UK operations," PNB Chairman and Managing
Director K C Chakrabarty told reporters here last night.
The bank so far has three branches in the UK and it will
open one in Birmingham next month. Over the next financial
year, there are plans to open additional branches in
Manchester, Wolverhampton and London, he said.
Chakrabarty said: "Those who have cash and strength, this
is the time to expand and we are capitalising on the current
The Punjab National Bank International is a subsidiary
of the Punjab National Bank. With 4,600 branches in India and
38 million customers, PNB is expected to make a profit of 500
million dollars this year, he said.
Chakrabarty launched the bank's Debit Card here
yesterday. The bank will not charge for withdrawals in the UK
as well as all Maestro-enabled ATMs in India. In addition to
the Debit Card service, the bank has commenced internet
banking services to retail and corporate customers.
Answering a query on if the India's move to protect the
domestic financial institutions, he said India's regulatory
and monetary authorities had done a wonderful job in
insulating banks from the turmoil outside. "They have not
allowed any bubble to be created".
To mark the launch of the new services, the bank hosted a
celebratory event at the Park Lane Hotel (Sheraton) in central
London last night. British minister of state for welfare
reform Tony McNulty was the chief guest and India's High
Commissioner to the UK, S S Mukherjee, was the guest of
Stephen Pound, MP, former Chairman of the Labour Friends
of India appreciated the courage and vision of the bank to
have decided to expand when other western banks were
struggling to survive.
The Bank will also open a representative office in Oslo
in Norway on Friday.
"At present, we have a joint venture bank in Nepal and we
plan to start a joint venture bank in Bhutan by April 14 this
year," he said.
The bank plans to launch online remittances shortly.
First Published: Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 00:00