The Government of India has decided to consolidate 35 overseas branches of state-run banks in a bid to streamline and rationalise the operations.
The decision was announced by the Indian financial services secretary Rajeev Kumar through a tweet where he also said that 69 more operations are currently under review for consolidation.
In the tweet, he added that the government will also evaluate and close all non-viable offshore operations in order to reduce costs.
The rationalisation of the overseas operations will be carried out through multiple initiatives including closing down of branches and consolidation of joint venture operations in which multiple state-run banks are partners.
Additionally, all 216 operations of state-run banks in foreign countries will be evaluated for possible consolidation.
The development comes after the exposure of a nearly $2bn fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB), one of the largest state lenders of India.
Currently, there are nearly 165 overseas branches of the state-run banks besides other subsidiaries and representative offices.
With 52 offices, State Bank of India has the largest number of overseas branches followed by Bank of Baroda and Bank of India.
The UK hosts the maximum number of branches, followed by Hong Kong, UAE and Singapore.
Last month, state-owned lender Bank of Baroda announced to terminate its operations in South Africa.