Instant and cost-free money transfer service to India at better exchange rates through debit cards “all seven days round the clock” is one of the innovative services customers can avail from the Bank of Baroda even as several exchange houses in the UAE have started to hike remittance fees.
The new free remittance service is being offered to all customers, including blue-collared workers who frequently remit money to India by paying a fee to exchange houses for each remittance. Bank of Baroda has at present 46 ATMs providing this service without any charges on the remitter.
Very soon, this customer-centric facility shall be offered through the bank’s Internet banking service also. Also on the offing is the long-awaited launch of credit cards by the only Indian bank that has full-fledged onshore banking operations in the UAE, Oman and Bahrain.
Vineet Kumar Dudeja, chief executive, GCC operations, of the second largest Indian public sector bank with a global network of 5,424 branches and 8,723 ATMs in 24 countries has more surprises in store for customers through innovative products, services and technology.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dudeja said non-residents are going to be offered an innovative twin account facility called ‘Baroda Happiness Twin Account’ wherein salaried Indian residents will be offered to open bank accounts in the UAE and India at the same time while offering many attractive features, including free remittance and in-built overdraft facility.
Free remittance through ATMs for existing customers and to ‘Baroda Happiness’ twin account customers comes as a boon at a time when remittance charges are being hiked by money exchanges in the GCC by 7 to 10 per cent to cope up with the rising cost of doing remittance business. Fee for remittance below Dh1,000 has been increased to Dh16 from Dh15 and for amounts above Dh1,000 to Dh22 from Dh20.
Dudeja said that BoB credit cards would be launched in four to five months. Tie-up operations with credit card issuers are underway. “Credit cards from the only Indian bank in the UAE operating since 1974 have been long overdue. It is better late than never,” he said.
In 2017, the bank will consolidate its GCC operations – which account for 10 per cent of the lender’s total balance sheet – by using the existing physical infrastructure of six branches in the UAE, one in Bahrain and four in Oman besides 10 electronic banking service units and 46 ATMs, he said.
“The world is moving towards digital and we are strong in our digital innovations, including net banking and mobile banking. The bank’s M-passbook app enables customers to get instant mobile access to their accounts,” he said.
Dudeja said the BoB’s performance had been satisfactory despite global and regional challenges. He was optimistic that the overall regional economy would start gaining growth momentum from the second half of 2017 with signs of gradual recovery in oil prices.
The bank is expecting a double-digit growth in its balance sheet in the current fiscal as compared to single digit growth for the year ended March 2017.
“We are on track for a compliant and quality business growth through our mass customer acquisitions and customer penetration strategies,” Dudeja said.
The bank has been strictly focusing on compliance standards in line with the UAE Central Bank’s efforts to enhance them to match global regulations in areas of KYC and AML regulations.
Dudeja said that the UAE Bankruptcy Law, which came into effect from December last year, would have a positive impact on SME lending and asset quality of banks. The new law provides creditors and debtors increased flexibility in dealing with financial distress and thus ensures security for business owners and investors.