Doha Bank is to begin offering trade finance solutions in India.

The bank has been recently cleared by the Reserve Bank of India to begin lending in the country, with a first branch expected to be opened in Mumbai imminently.

R Seetharaman, Doha Bank CEO, announced plans for a US$25mn trade finance fund, to be disbursed through this new India operation. It’s likely that the bank will expand into South India, which has a high volume of Gulf expats, as well as Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and other Indian cities and regions which trade heavily with the GCC.

Seetharaman says the fund is likely to increase as Doha Bank increases its Indian exposures. He says: “Initially we are required to bring in $25 million. In the next two years, additional capital as required by the RBI to meet the capital adequacy ratio will be brought in, based on the level of risk assets in the books.”

Currently, it has US$1bn exposure to India, but plans to increase this to US$5bn within three years. The lending will be to SME, corporate and financial institutions that are engaged in trade with the GCC.