DBS Group is optimistic about business opportunities in India and has used a phygital strategy, offering best-in-class digital capabilities to customers backed by a strong physical network, to expand in the country, said the CEO of the India-based bank. Singapore, Piyush Gupta.

The group sees a significant opportunity to broaden its existing business profile which is today largely dominated by large corporations to include a larger retail and small and medium enterprise (SME) customer base, Gupta said.

We are optimistic about India because it is not only one of the fastest growing markets in the world but also accelerating digitally very rapidly, the Meerut-born banker told PTI in a interview on Saturday.

Our strategy in India remains to grow through a phygital model, delivering best-in-class digital capabilities to our customers, backed by a strong physical network to assist in last-mile service, he said.

DBS Bank India Limited (DBIL), the wholly owned subsidiary in India, is now focusing on the integration of Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) which merged into DBS on November 27, 2020 under Section 45 of the Act of 1949 on banking regulations.

Our main goal is to bring it into our business and grow organically, Gupta said.

The most recent Euromoney award given to DBS as Best SME/MSME Support Bank signifies doing more for the Indian market.

We are pleased to have been named World’s Best SME Bank’ by Euromoney for the second time. Since its inception, DBS has been supporting local businesses and expanding access to credit to this segment,” Gupta said.

Our digital capabilities have helped us serve our customers seamlessly even during the pandemic in all our markets, including India. Our suite of digital offerings has helped MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) in India meet working capital needs and operational responsibilities, the tech-savvy banking veteran pointed out.

DBS has also helped MSMEs in India navigate a difficult business environment by providing loans to the segment during the lockdown months.

“We continue to see tremendous opportunity in the SME and MME segments in India,” Gupta said.

With an expanded footprint, we are further accelerating our efforts in this segment, including making banking operations seamless by working with industry-level digital platforms,” he said,

The recent move by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to initiate settlement of the rupee in international trade could be an interesting step towards a possible further internationalization of the currency, he noted.

The move is constructive for the rupee in the medium term, as higher demand for the Indian rupee (INR) for settlements implies lower demand for the currency for current account transactions, he said.

“In the short term, the weakening of the Indian rupee has raised some concerns. However, from different angles, the fall in the currency is more contained this time around and supported by better fundamentals,” said Gupta, a naturalized Singaporean since. 2009.

“Politically, with the dollar appreciating in an environment of low risk appetite and a looming domestic balance of payments deficit, the evolving equilibrium will be to keep the currency on a path of gradual depreciation as an adjustment mechanism without creating strong inflationary pressures,” he added. he said.

Gupta, 62, shared his views on the currency’s current outlook.

“Looking ahead, the currency should reflect improving economic fundamentals as the shift to broaden the country’s manufacturing base gains momentum; incremental reforms improve the ease of doing business; and efforts to accelerate infrastructure investments are demonstrated by programs such as the National Infra Pipeline, Gati Shakti and the Asset Monetization Program, in addition to higher budget allocations for capital expenditure,” he said .

The RBI and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have announced a project to link their respective rapid payment systems, namely Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and PayNow.

DBS is closely involved in supporting the efforts of both central banks.

Gupta said the PayNow-UPI link will allow users to make instant, low-cost money transfers directly from one bank account to another between Singapore and India.

“Once implemented, remittances can be made from India to Singapore using mobile phone numbers, and from Singapore to India using UPI Virtual Payable Addresses (VPAs),” a- he declared.

India is indeed a hotbed of startups, Gupta said.

We firmly believe that technology solutions and innovation play a key role in the growth of startups and SMEs. It is therefore important that banking partners offer these entities integrated solutions across ecosystems.

At DBS, we not only work with startups, but we also collaborate with startup incubators in India to look for ways to support startups. Additionally, the bank’s ability to provide API-based integration capabilities has been one of the critical success criteria for our partnership with startups,” Gupta said.

DBS continues to seek to better integrate our banking solutions into the existing startup ecosystem and provide enabling solutions to this segment, said Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Alumnus.

Recently, DBS set up Evolution X to support growth-stage technology start-ups with debt capital solutions. This helps extend their funding trail with minimal dilution.

DBS is also in favor of the RBI’s decision to give payment aggregator licenses to Fintechs in principle.

As a bank operating in India, we view this as a positive move by the RBI. We continue to be closely engaged with payment companies, both to improve and expand our capabilities as well as to provide settlement services to aggregators, leveraging our open architecture platform. .

When asked whether DBS and other private sector banks would be involved in financing multi-billion dollar infrastructure in India, especially in the public-private partnership (PPP) model and/or construction model -operate-transfer (BOT), he replied: Although I don’t want to comment on other banks, we are generally sector independent in our approach and review all aspects and the economic environment before doing so.

As a bank, we are committed to financing the transition to a low-carbon future and want to work alongside like-minded partners to transition industries from brown to tan and gradually to green,” he said. -he declares.

Our goal is to become net zero in the coming decades. In October 2021, DBS became the first bank in Singapore to become a signatory to the United Nations-convened, industry-led Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA),” he added.

As a signatory, DBS commits to shift operational and attributable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its lending and investment portfolios to align with pathways to net zero by 2050 or before, he said.

DBS, he said, seeks to provide sustainable financing to businesses to support their transformation to a low-carbon future.

DBS has committed a total of S$20.5 billion to sustainable finance transactions in 2021, bringing the bank’s cumulative efforts to S$39.4 billion. Thanks to this, the bank has reached almost 80% of its sustainable financing target of S$50 billion by 2024.

Furthermore, DBS India continues to execute the bank’s strategy to transform into a more diversified franchise in India in the large corporate, medium and small business segments as well as growing consumer opportunities.

We recently launched a co-branded credit card and plan to offer the full suite of DBS products and services to our expanded footprint as the integration with LVB progresses.

We continue to invest in the growth of the Indian franchise. All profits from India are reinvested in the Indian subsidiary. Additionally, in FY22, DBS Singapore invested an additional capital of INR 1,040 crore in DBS Bank India to support growth plans in the country.

DBS has established a banking network of over 500 branches in 19 Indian states, covering over 200 key centers across the country. The bank has been in India for 28 years.

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