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ICICI to Start Commercial Banking Operations in UAE
Friday, March 23, 2007

ICICI, a leading public sector bank in India, sees itself to establish a substantial presence in UAE as it has made Indians living in Gulf confident about its tremendous potential to manage money.

The bank is holding continuous discussions about beginning commercial operations in UAE, said K.V. Kamath, ICICI Bank chief executive officer, who did not specify whether a formal request for a commercial banking license has been made to the UAE Central Bank or not.

The fact that Non Resident Indians (NRIs) living in the region send around $6 billion annually in remittances from the GCC, is enough for Indian Banks to foresee large growth prospects here. India received $25 billion in remittances last year and is expected to grow 25 per cent annually, said Kamath.

ICICI is already conducting full banking operations through its branch in Bahrain, where the operations account for one-third of the bank’s international business, which is about 17% of the bank’s balance sheet. The bank has 60 employees at its DIFC office, which offers the clients with wealth management services.

A similar office will be set up at the Qatari Financial Centre. Also, a representative office is to be open in Abu Dhabi and envisages serving an increasing customer base. Kamath sees the Middle East as an attractive destination where developments are high which makes the place happening.

The financial services will grow between 25 to 30 per cent in the near future. The expected increase is expected to be around three times the growth in India's gross domestic product (GDP).

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