ICICI Bank on Thursday opened its representative office in Nepal's capital Kathmandu. The representative office will closely work with the domestic banks in Nepal to facilitate investment, trade, payments and treasury business between the two countries, ICICI Bank said in a statement. ICICI Bank is the first Indian private sector lender to foray into Nepal, it added.
The move also comes at a time when there is growing warmth between New Delhi and Kathmandu, after a recent thaw. In the last few months, Nepal has hosted high-ranking Indian officials and also feted Army Chief General M M Naravane. State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank are present in Nepal with a subsidiary and joint venture, respectively. With this foray, ICICI Bank has expanded its footprint to 15 countries, including India.
"The representative office is a reaffirmation of our commitment towards the region and our belief in the long-term growth potential of the Indo-Nepal economic corridor.
"We look forward to working with our partners in Nepal for deepening connectivity for our customers doing business between the two countries," said Ranju Sigtia, Head (International Financial Institution Group), ICICI Bank.
In the last reporting quarter, the bank had reported a 32 per cent dip in its overseas loan book as it concentrated more on the domestic market. It has been consolidating its overseas presence over the last few years and has also repatriated capital from some of the foreign subsidiaries. It had a presence in 19 countries in 2015.