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Barclays Finance set to close most NBFC branches in India

Somasroy Chakraborty  |  Mumbai 

Seven to nine NBFC branches would be kept to service loans.

Barclays Finance, the non-banking arm of Barclays Corporate in India, plans to close the majority of its branches here, as part of the lender's plan to scale down retail operations in the country. The number of branches would be reduced to a 'single digit' from around the current 30, said two people familiar with the development.

"Barclays has decided not to book fresh retail loans in India. It does not make sense to keep so many NBFC (non-banking financial company branches. The process of closing many of these branches has already started," said a banker, requesting anonymity.

In India, NBFCs do not need permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to open a branch.

According to another source, the foreign lender would keep about seven to nine NBFC branches to service existing loans. Barclays also has nine bank branches in India. "There are places where Barclays has an NBFC branch, but no bank branch. So, a handful of NBFC branches, about seven to nine, would be kept open to service their existing loan portfolio," the source said.

The spokesperson of Barclays in India declined to comment for this story.

Sources said Barclays had a little over Rs 3,000 crore in retail assets comprising mortgage loans, personal loans and loans to small businesses that it lent in India through its bank and non-banking branches.

Earlier this month, it had decided to focus on profitable business ventures like wealth management and investment banking and scale down its retail operations in India. It sold its performing credit cards portfolio to Standard Chartered Bank and is also open to selling retail loans of over Rs 3,000 crore.

The lender will, however, accept deposits from select clients, while focusing on corporate, wealth management and investment banking businesses.

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First Published: Tue, December 27 2011. 00:34 IST