SBI Aims to Open 400 New Branches in FY25: Chairman Dinesh Khara

Dinesh Khara
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SBI Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara addressed the relevance of bank branches despite the high percentage of digital transactions, stating, “Somebody asked me if 89 per cent of digital and 98 per cent of transactions were happening outside the branch, whether the branch is required anymore. My answer is yes. It is still required because there are newer areas which are emerging.”As part of its network development strategy, State Bank of India (SBI) intends to open 400 branches across the country in the current fiscal year.

Last fiscal year, SBI, the country’s biggest lender, opened 137 branches, including 59 new rural branches. Khara emphasized the importance of branches for services like advisory and wealth management that can only be offered in person. “We will be identifying locations where the opportunity exists, and in those locations, we plan to open branches. Almost 400 branches we plan to add this year,” he said. As of March 2024, SBI had 22,542 branches in India.

Regarding the monetization of subsidiaries, Khara indicated that SBI would wait for these entities to further scale up operations before listing them to increase valuation and ensure better returns. “The subsidiaries that will be suitable for this kind of approach will be primarily our SBI General and, at some stage, SBI Payment Services, but as of now, we don’t have any such plan,” he explained. “Perhaps we should scale them up a bit more, and then consider going to the capital market to monetize our stake in these companies. But not in the current fiscal year.”

During the year ending March 2024, SBI infused an additional ₹489.67 crore into SBI General Insurance Company Ltd., which also allotted ESOPs to employees, reducing the bank’s stake from 69.95 per cent to 69.11 per cent. SBI General Insurance reported a 30.4 per cent rise in net profit to ₹240 crore for the financial year ending March 2024, up from ₹184 crore the previous year.

SBI Payment Services Pvt Ltd, which is in the merchant acquiring business, is 74 per cent owned by SBI, with the remaining stake held by Hitachi Payment Services.

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