Thursday, December 3, 2009

Will Bank of India Take Over Oriental Bank of Commerce?

With its second quarter results out, speculations that Oriental Bank of Commerce might be fit for a takeover have gathered wind.

OBC went back on its good first quarter results of 46% growth by registering only 18.63% growth in net profit during the quarter ended September 2009. The bank’s total business growth during H1 of this year stands at 24%.

Making this mid-sized bank more attractive for a takeover is the fact that OBC is in urgent need for Rs. 1000 crore as capital support from the Government. Though Chairman & Managing Director TY Prabhu has claimed that it is for branch expansion, shoring up Oriental Bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) should also be a prime reason.

But plagued with such never ending requests from several public sector banks (PSBs), the Government has recently made it clear that it may not be able to meet the entire demand. That leaves only a few options before such PSBs, one among which is allowing a takeover by a bigger PSB.

Speculations are on that Mumbai headquartered Bank of India is eyeing Oriental Bank of Commerce for a takeover. Such a move has got some other rationale too, as BoI’s is heavily West focused while OBC is heavily North focused.

But, in any case, such a move is unlikely to be met favourably with the senior to middle level managers in OBC.

Oriental Bank of Commerce is a full service bank, featuring anytime anywhere banking that addresses retail, corporate, & industrial clients using the latest in technologies like core banking, internet, mobile, & ATMs. CMD TY Prabhu is a Canara Bank veteran, who joined OBC recently after a successful tenure with Union Bank of India as its Executive Director.

Oriental Bank of Commerce has always been in the forefront of social initiatives, be it participation in the national pension plan or poverty alleviation for the BPL classes. The bank is also on a major expansion drive with a new recruitment drive being announced.

OBC’s innovative bancassurance model – but partnered with two banks itself, HSBC and Canara Bank – has already become the fastest grower in the life insurance sector.

However, if the takeover by Bank of India materializes, it will fly in the face of the OBC management’s plans to increase branch strength by 200 new branches and a targeted business mix of Rs. 2,00,000 crore by the year end.

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