Exuding confidence that it would get a banking licence in India, global forex remittance major UAE Exchange says it has already initiated work for an 800-branch network in the country and would focus mostly on rural areas. Pitted against some of the biggest names of India Inc in seeking a bank licence, UAE Exchange's Managing Director and CEO B R Shetty said that his competitors may be "very big", but his group was also not a small one and is serving one lakh customers a day globally. Born in Karnataka and a clinical pharmacist by education, Shetty first set up a healthcare business in the UAE in early 70s and later established UAE Exchange in 1980. Abu Dhabi-based UAE Exchange a leading global player in the money remittance business. Indian-origin people across the world account for a significant part of its customer base.
The group has sought a banking licence in India through UAE Exchange India, a Non-Banking Financial Company registered with RBI. It is one of the 26 license applicants, which include entities from groups headed by Anil Ambani, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Tatas etc. "I know, there are some very big names with whom we are competing for the bank licence, but we have got very rich qualifications," Shetty told PTI in an interview here. "We have 38 years of experience and customer loyalty across the world. Besides, we have withstood regulatory regime across the world, including the likes of US, UK, Australia, China, Cananda, Hong Kong, Japan and India," he said. Shetty said he is very much confident of getting a permit. "We have the pre-qualifications. We are already one step below the bank in India. We are fully compliant with RBI regulations for our existing operations," he added.
"There may be big names in fray, but we are also not small. We are also big enough. Our experience with RBI has been very good, we never faced any problems whenever we have sought any licence from RBI itself for our different businesses. We have always got those licences," Shetty said. UAE Exchange India is a 14-year old company which started business operations in 1999 and the parent company operates in 30 different countries. Asked about the RBI's condition that the new banks would need to have at least 25 per cent of their presence in rural and remote areas, Shetty said:""As per the business plan submitted by us, our presence in rural areas would be much more than the threshold limit of 25 per cent." "Our focus has always been the common man, starting with the clinical services to remittance to banking now," he said. UAE Exchange has about 700 branches across the world, nearly half of which are in India. "India is one of the largest recipients of the money transmitted through our network. Last year, we remitted USD seven billion (Rs 35,000 crore), which is almost 10 per cent of the usd 65 billion global remittance that India received last year. India accounts for almost 60 per cent of our global business that we handle," Shetty said.