Indian banks make most of RBI's FCNR deposit scheme, HDFC Bank emerges biggest player

Bank depositsRBI had announced a special concessional dollar swap window to attract FCNR (B) deposits and foreign currency borrowings.

In the three-month period between September and November when the Reserve Bank of India announced a special concessional dollar swap window to attract FCNR (B) deposits and foreign currency borrowings through which it raised $34 billion, thereby providing enough stability to rupee, Indian banks have emerged on top in mobilising the deposits.

According to banking sources, HDFC Bank has emerged as the top FCNR (B) deposit mobiliser accounting for over 10 per cent of the total fund raised within the scheme.

The total deposits mobilised by the bank stood at over $3.3 billion. ICICI Bank emerged as the second biggest player and mobilised deposits close to $2 billion under this scheme. Axis Bank and the state-owned State Bank of India (SBI) have also garnered around $1.5 billion each.

Among the foreign banks Citibank came on top with deposits close to $1.7 billion under the FCNR (B) deposit category and Standard Chartered Bank managed to mobilise over $1 billion.

Foreign Currency Non Resident (FCNR) Bank Account is a deposit where NRIs or Indian nationals are allowed to hold fixed deposits in banks in foreign currency thereby safeguarding themselves against any adverse currency volatility which they may get exposed to when they hold such deposits in Indian rupee.

The scheme was announced by the RBI in September to attract foreign fund flow in a bid to stabilise the rupee which had slipped below 68 against the dollar. The scheme closed on November 30. Bankers say that around one third of the total $34 billion came as deposits while the remaining came as overseas borrowings by the banks.

Under this window, banks were offering up to 3.5 per cent fixed rate of interest on deposits ranging between one and three years.

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