OBC to expand, may cut interest rates
By Neelima Shankar
Jan 21, 2008
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Chandigarh: Acquisitions and mergers are hot topics in Indian banking industry and the State-run Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) has also declared its intent that it is not averse to any idea of acquisition. OBC is planning a massive expansion and 85 new branches are proposed in the next few months.

The CMD of Oriental Bank of Commerce Alok K Misra said, "The bank is open to the idea of growing by inorganic way. We have kept all our options open for acquiring any bank and as and when we receive any good opportunity in this regard we will definitely look at it." Two co-operative banks based in Punjab and the Global Trust Bank were acquired by OBC recently.

OBC has got the approval from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to open 85 more branches in the country and 9 of these will be located in Punjab. The tally of OBC branches will rise to 1,387 after this network expansion.

On the issue of interest rates Mishra said that the RBI's monetary policy review scheduled for the end of January will more or less decide the future of interest rates offered by various banks. He also ruled out an immediate reduction in interest rates but hinted that a 25 basis point dip can be expected in the next two to three months. Speaking on the bank's priorities, he said that instead of lending in speculative areas such as real estate, Oriental Bank of Commerce would prefer to lend money to the productive and priority sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture.

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