Banking Sector

Former UK watchdog brands HSBC's tax evasion scheme 'serious criminal activity'

Former UK watchdog brands HSBC's tax evasion scheme 'serious criminal activity'

London, Feb 23 - A former Director of Public Prosecutions has accused banking giant HSBC of "grave" cross border crime and of engaging in "a systematic and profitable collusion in serious criminal activity" in the UK.

According to the Independent, in a damming intervention Lord Ken Macdonald, who led the Crown Prosecution Service until 2008, said there existed "credible evidence" of HSBC's involvement in "grave" cross border crimes that should have been the subject of urgent and "sustained criminal investigation".

He said that the decision by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to not launch a probe into allegations of tax evasion by HSBC was "seriously legally flawed".

IBA agrees to meet bank unions today to avert strike

All-India Bank Employees Union vice-president Vishwas Utagi

Mumbai - The Indian Banks Association has decided to hold further talks with leaders of public sector bank unions who have given a call for four-day nation-wide strike from February 25.

"The IBA has invited us for talks on Monday in Mumbai and we have agreed to participate in the talks," United Forum of Bank Unions (Maharashtra) and All-India Bank Employees Union vice-president Vishwas Utagi said.

The unions have threatened the strike to press wage-hike demand. This will be their fifth strike this fiscal.

IBA has offered a 13 percent hike which will put a burden of Rs 4,095 crore on the banks, against the unions' demand of 19.5 percent hike which would increase the salary bill by Rs 10,000 crore per annum.

HSBC India at centre of fresh tax evasion claims

HSBC India at centre of fresh tax evasion claims

London - HSBC's Indian banking unit is at the heart of fresh revelations around tax evasion, days after a global expose showed tax dodging through accounts in the British major's Swiss banking unit, a media report said today.

It is alleged that representatives of HSBC India, which has employees based in America, assured customers that details of their accounts would not be reported to tax officials.

The latest revelations came even as the bank issued full-page advertisements in British newspapers as a public apology after reports that its Swiss banking arm had helped some wealthy clients avoid tax.

HDFC Bank Q3 net profit jumps 20% at Rs 2,794.51 crore

HDFC Bank Q3 net profit jumps 20% at Rs 2,794.51 crore

New Delhi: Private lender HDFC Bank today reported 20 percent jump in net profit at Rs 2,794.51 crore for the third quarter ended December 2014 on account of higher interest income.

The bank had reported a net profit of Rs 2,325.70 crore during the same period of last financial year, HDFC Bank said in a filing to stock exchanges.

Total income of the bank rose to Rs 14,930.74 crore during the October-December period of FY15 from Rs 12,738.95 crore in the corresponding quarter of last financial year.

Net non performing assets (NPAs) stood at 0.26 percent as compared to 0.3 percent a year ago, while gross NPAs were at 0.99 percent as against 1.01 percent a year ago.

SBI Q3 Net surges 30% on improved income; shares soar 6.8%

SBI Q3 Net surges 30% on improved income; shares soar 6.8%

Mumbai - Improvement in asset quality and high interest income pushed State Bank of India's net profit in December quarter by 30 percent to Rs 2,910 crore, boosting the shares of country's largest lender by 6.8 percent.

The bank had reported a net profit of Rs 2,234 crore in the October-December quarter of previous fiscal, SBI said in a statement.

The gross non-performing assets (NPAs) as a percentage of total advances came down to 4.90 percent at the end of third quarter from 5.73 percent in the year-ago period while net NPAs stood at 2.80 percent.

During the quarter, the net interest income increased by 9.20 percent to Rs 13,777 crore as against Rs 12,616 crore in the October-December period of last fiscal.

Forex kitty high, but may not cushion extreme volatility: RBI

Forex kitty high, but may not cushion extreme volatility: RBI

Mumbai: RBI Deputy Governor H R Khan on Tuesday said though the country's forex kitty was at an all time high of USD 330 billion, there should be no complacency as no amount of reserves may be enough to fight extreme volatility.

"Foreign currency reserves have improved. Right now we're at USD 330 billion, highest ever. But there is also a view that no amount of foreign exchange reserves can cushion when there is extreme volatility or external shocks," Khan said, days after weekly data showed an over USD 6 billion jump in forex to an all-time high.

"We are much better placed. In terms of fool proofing our balance sheet we have done quite a few things," Khan said, referring to the jump in reserves.

PNB raises Rs 1000 crore through long term bonds

PNB raises Rs 1000 crore through long term bonds

New Delhi: Public sector lender Punjab National Bank on Tuesday said it has raised Rs 1,000 crore through long term bonds on private placement basis.

"The bank has raised Rs 1000 crore long term bonds at an annual coupon of 8.23 percent on private placement basis on February 09, 2015, through five arrangers," the company said in a BSE filing.

During the third quarter ended December 31, 2014, the company reported a marginal 2.5 percent increase in net profit to Rs 774.56 crore.

This was against a net profit of Rs 755.41 crore for the October-December quarter of the 2013-14 financial year.

HSBC helped customers across globe evade millions of pounds in tax: Report

HSBC helped customers across globe evade millions of pounds in tax: Report

London, Feb 09 - A report has said that Britain's biggest bank, HSBC, helped its customers evade millions of pounds in tax.

The report was based on details of thousands of accounts from HSBC's private bank in Switzerland, which were leaked by a whistleblower in 2007, reported the BBC.

They showed that bankers helped its customers dodge tax and offered them deals to help them stay ahead of the law.

While admitting that some bank account holders took advantage of bank secrecy to hold undeclared accounts, HSBC said that it has now "fundamentally changed."

The documents, leaked by a computer expert working for HSBC in Geneva in 2007, contained details of about 100,000 clients worldwide. (ANI)

Centre to infuse Rs.6990 crores in public sector banks

Centre to infuse Rs.6990 crores in public sector banks

New Delhi, Feb 7 : The Centre has decided to infuse Rs. 6990 crores in nine public sector banks (PSBs) for which orders are being issued.

This year, the Centre has adopted a new criteria in which the banks which are more efficient would only be rewarded with extra capital for their equity so that they can further strengthen their position.

The methodology for arriving the amount to be infused in these banks has been based on efficiency parameters. First of all, weighted average of return on assets (ROA) for all PSBs for last three years put together was arrived at and all those who were above the average have been considered.

HDFC Bank raises close to Rs 10,000 crore

HDFC Bank raises close to Rs 10,000 crore

Mumbai: Country's largest lender by market value HDFC Bank on Thursday raised Rs 9,880 crore in the largest share sale in the secondary market by a private entity to overseas and domestic investors through a mix of qualified institutional placement and American depository shares.

Merchant bankers said the issue has been successfully closed and the final pricing is expected shortly.

According to merchant bankers who include Barclays, JM Financial, Citi, JP Morgan and BofA-ML among others, said the bank opened the QIP issue first and the ADR was launched a few hours later.

The bank has plans to raise Rs 2,400 crore from QIP and the rest from ADRs, but sources said the composition got changed after the sale began.

Indians can invest up to $2,50,000 annually overseas

RBIMumbai: Encouraged by foreign exchange reserves touching record levels, the Reserve Bank on Tuesday doubled the annual overseas investment ceiling for individuals to USD 2,50,000.

"On a review of the external sector outlook and as a further exercise in macro-prudential management, it has been decided to enhance the limit under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) to USD 2,50,000 per person per year," the RBI said in its Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement.

PNB net profit up 2.5% to Rs 775 crore

New Delhi - Punjab National Bank on Tuesday posted a marginal 2.5 percent increase in net profit to Rs 774.56 crore for its third quarter ended December 31, on account of higher provisioning for bad loans.

The country's second largest public sector bank by assets had reported net profit of Rs 755.41 crore for the October- December quarter of the 2013-14 financial year.

Poor performance of the bank pulled its share price down by nearly 7 percent to Rs 179.20 on the BSE after the numbers were announced.

As far as PNB's asset quality is concerned, gross NPAs as a percentage to total advances rose to 5.97 per cent from 4.96 per cent in the same quarter an year ago.

Ambanis, Birlas, Mittal among 113 vying to be niche banks

Mumbai - At least 113 entities, including top corporates such as RIL, Aditya Birla Group, Airtel, Vodafone and Future Group, have approached the RBI to seek licences for setting up payment or small finance banks.

"72 applications for Small Finance Banks and 41 applications for Payments Banks were received up to the deadline for submission yesterday," RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said during a bi-monthly monetary policy review.

Indicating that the final tally may increase, he said "this number excludes applications that might have been received at other venues".

PSU banks should be allowed to recruit from IITs, IIMs: SBI

SBIMumbai: The country's largest lender, SBI has said that public sector banks should be given an opportunity to tap the best talent from premier institutes like IITs and IIMs.

"The public money goes into formation of the institutions like IITs and IIMs. From all of these good institutions, which nurture the best talents of the country, the public sector banks are barred from recruitment," SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said at a recent event.

She said currently the Supreme Court does not allow state-run banks to go for campus recruitment to these premier institutions as every vacancy has to be advertised so that everyone should be able to participate in it.

RBI may cut interest rate further in policy review this week

New Delhi/Mumbai - The RBI may cut its policy rate further by 0.25 percent this week to boost growth, as inflation remains under control and fiscal situation appears better following a record CIL disinvestment.

RBI, which last month announced a surprise rate cut of 25 basis points after maintaining a hawkish monetary stance for 20 months, is scheduled to undertake its sixth bi-monthly monetary policy review, 2014-15 on Tuesday, February 3.

RBI may ease rates further: Chief Economic Advisor

RBIDavos: Lauding RBI's role in helping bring down inflation, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian said the central bank may further ease the interest rates as improvement on price front has opened the space for monetary easing.

"The way I view is that RBI has a mandate to bring down inflation and keep it low and given the inflation has been coming down, that opened up the space for monetary policy easing and RBI has begun that," said Subramanian, who was here to attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

Bank employees to go on strike from Jan 21

Bank employees to go on strike from Jan 21Chandigarh : Public sector bank employees have decided to go on a 4-day strike from January 21 to protest against the "rigid and callous attitude" of Central Government in resolving the long pending wage revision issue, a senior union leader said here Monday.

Earlier, it was decided to hold 1 day strike on January 7, which was deferred on the request of IBA to find out an amicable solution, All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) State Secretary Deepak Kumar Sharma said.

The decision is in response to the strike call given by United Forum Of Bank Unions, which has more than ten lakh employees and officers of banking Industry under its umbrella.

RBI cuts interest rate by 0.25% to 7.75%

RBIMumbai: Encouraged by softening inflation, the RBI on Thursday decided to cut the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percent to 7.75 percent with a view to boost growth.

The decision to reduce repo rate comes a fortnight ahead of the scheduled date of monetary policy announcement on February 3.

"It has been decided to reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 8.0 percent to 7.75 percent with immediate effect," Reserve Bank said in a statement today.

The RBI has been keeping the benchmark interest rate at elevated level at 8 percent since January 2014.

15 GMs short-listed for appointment as 14 EDs in banks

Raghuram RajanMumbai: A government-appointed selection panel has short-listed 15 general managers for appointment as 14 executive directors in various public sector banks, sources said on Wednesday.

The names of the GMs whose names have been short-listed include Harideesh Kumar of Vijaya Bank, Pawan Kumar Bajaj, RA Sankara Narayanan, NK Sahoo, Raj Kamal Verma and Charan Singh of BoI, Arvind Kumar Jain of OBC, Rishabh Lodha, Ravi Shankar Pandey and Ajit Kumar Rath of Union Bank, Ravindra P Marathe, KVR Moorthy and Kharat Kishor Piraji (BoB), Umesh Kuamr Singh of Central Bank and VK Shukla of Canara Bank.

India's sovereign rating upgrade likely in 2015: Report

Deutsche BankMumbai : Improving external balances and government actions may drive a sovereign rating upgrade for the country during the current calendar year, according to a report by Deutsche Bank (DB).

It was despite the fact that market was not yet factoring in a rating upgrade, the report said.

"We assign a high likelihood of a sovereign ratings upgrade for India as most macro indicators have exhibited improvements in past two years," DB Group managing director, head of research, Abhay Laijawala said while unveiling 'India equity strategy: 2015 outlook' here Thursday.

The rating upgrade for the country will happen shortly, however, it will depend on the forthcoming annual Budget, he said.

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