Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Aug 11, 2005
Money & Banking
Agri-Biz & Commodities - Farm credit
StanChart may float agri-financing co
Chennai , Aug 10
STANDARD Chartered Bank has identified several new business areas for growth through the NBFC model and could possibly float a company for agriculture financing.
In an informal discussion with mediapersons here today, Mr Jaspal Bindra, General Manager - South Asia, said that the immediate area of focus would be `consumer financing'.
This would be done under the bank's existing non-banking finance company, Standard Chartered Investments and Loans (India) Ltd.
However, the bank also plans to get into other areas such as agriculture financing, micro credit, asset reconstruction and perhaps even automobile loans, Mr Bindra said.
The bank recently sold off its auto loan assets, but Mr Bindra did not want to rule out the possibility of the bank re-entering the area.
Asked if separate companies would be set up for these areas, he said that the bank would study the pros and cons. In that context, Mr Bindra mentioned that a separate company for agriculture financing made sense because then refinance would be available more easily.
He ruled out the bank entering insurance sector, except as a distributor of products. Asked if the bank was not missing out on a business opportunity, he said that there was enough potential in the existing areas of operation.
For example, he said, Posco setting up a $12 billion steel unit in Orissa, presented Standard Chartered Bank with a huge lending opportunity because "we are the only foreign bank present in the State."
Mr Bindra pointed out that Standard Chartered Bank had acquired the Korea First Bank in April and Posco was already its customer.
Mr Bindra was in Chennai in connection with giving Rs 30 lakh to Rotary Club of Madras towards construction of a school in the tsunami-affected district of Nagapattinam.
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