BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, India

UBI targets to boost credit growth by 20%

Union Bank of India intends to open three overseas branches by early 2013 to achieve this goal.

The state-run lender plans to open branches in Sydney, Dubai and London. It already operates overseas branches in Hong Kong and five representative offices elsewhere.

"I am hopeful that at least three overseas branches are expected by March 2013," said Chairman and Managing Director D Sarkar. He noted that the bank was spreading its network slowly.

Its branch at the Dubai International Finance Centre will help it raise money in foreign currencies that it will lend to borrowers in non-rupee denominations.

UBI is targeting a credit growth of 18% to 20% this fiscal year. Sarkar said the bank, which posted a margin of 3.2% last quarter, is confident of maintaining its net interest margin above 3%.

Its asset expansion in the first quarter has been subdued, Sarkar said, because of the international financial downturn and other factors such as the monsoon season.

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