UCO Bank, one of India’s oldest commercial banks, is shifting towards retail banking and planning to open hundreds of new branches, according to the chairman.
Arun Kaul told Indian daily Business Standard that the bank had "ambitious plans" to open new branches and that it was acquiring a quarter of a million new customers every month.
Kaul said: "We are making a tectonic shift from wholesale banking to retail banking.
"We have more than 2,700 branches now. By the end of March, 2014 we will have close to 2,900 branches and in 2014-15, we plan to add another 200-300 branches.
"We have realised that nowadays you don’t require large space in branches as the customer footfalls are declining because of increasing use of alternative delivery channels, which we are strengthening."
The Kolkata-based bank, founded in 1943, now has 35% of its deposits in current account saving accounts, compared to 21% this time three years ago.
Kaul said: "From 2010, since the economy was not doing well, large corporate credit came under stress and non-performing assets shot up. It impacted the bank’s profitability."
"With a view to de-risk the business as also improve profitability, the bank embarked upon changing the mix of both its assets and liabilities.
"Our business model shifted from bulk to retail."