India's largest bank gets into gold coin retailing


From Reuters
via Yahoo News
Tuesday, November 6, 2007

MUMBAI, India -- India's largest lender, State Bank of India, said on Tuesday it has started retailing gold coins to cash in on its popularity as an investment option.

Investment in gold started to gain appeal last year as prices started shooting up and investors preferred coins over jewellery that is an expensive form of gold.

"At the corporate level they are thinking of it as a good source of revenue because this thing is catching on," said N. Raja, chief general manager of the Mumbai circle. "So the gold business is a thrust area for the bank."

The bank will be selling 5-gram and 10-gram coins across about 100 of its over 9,000 branches nationwide, Raja said.

He did not quantify the gold SBI planned to sell, but said the bank was targeting a "significant share of the market."

SBI will have to compete in the business with several other banks such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank, all of which sell imported coins.

SBI is already present in the wholesale gold market, where it sells big gold bars.

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