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Athens-headquartered Eurobank is looking to establish a presence in India and is in the process of consulting with advisors and the Reserve Bank of India to open a representative office in Mumbai, said people close to the bank.

With 80.5 billion euros of assets and 540 branches across Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Luxembourg and UK, the bank, which has a robust corporate client-focused business in these countries, aims to serve the needs of Indian businessmen looking for a commercial presence in Europe.

“Trade relations between Europe and India are on the cusp of taking off. We aim for Eurobank to become a key facilitator and the banking partner of choice for Indian businesses considering establishing a local hub in Greece or Cyprus to gain a footing in the EU market,” said Fokion Karavias, chief executive officer, Eurobank.

Karavias believes that the unified European market presents a vast opportunity for Indian businessmen.

“By creating a rep office in India, we will be able to best serve Indian businesses to make their first step into the largest single market area in the world.”

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was in India for a state visit in late February. During the visit, both countries proposed to double their trade by 2030.

Karavias also accompanied the Greek PM as part of a business delegation. During the visit, Eurobank struck a partnership with National Payments Corporation of India to introduce Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based remittances from Greece to India.

The people cited above said Eurobank will not initially offer banking products to Indian customers. The representative office will instead handle marketing, client relations and other non-transactional operations.

The bank’s management is of the view that India is important for its business for two reasons. Firstly, it believes India will benefit from the diversification of production hubs for Western consumption. This will move more manufacturing activity to India and boost trade between India and Europe, said the people cited above.

Secondly, the bank’s management believes that in a post-Brexit world, Indian businesses will not necessarily look to the UK to gain a foothold in the EU market and countries like Greece and Cyprus, which are Eurobank’s strongholds, will take up more of that space, the people said.

Eurobank’s major shareholder is Fairfax Financial, an insurance and investment giant founded by Indian-Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa.

  • Published On Mar 6, 2024 at 12:20 PM IST

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