Santander UK has signed an agreement with Yes Bank of India to help facilitate UK-India trade.

The memorandum will see Santander offer its clients access to banking facilities and support in India by leveraging Yes Bank’s network there. In return, Santander will offer financial support to Yes Bank clients trading internationally.

Santander says that this is part of a concerted effort to be more involved in growing trade between the UK and India. Last year, eight of 12 UK regions increased their exports to India. Scottish businesses grew Indian exports by 165%, while for businesses in Northern Ireland the figure was 96.5%.

“We chose Yes Bank because we have similar approaches to connectivity. With their knowledge-driven banking, they too believe in the value of a sector-focused approach. In India, they are organised intentionally to support the needs of international clients. They have a dedicated team based across the country; the largest team of its sort in India,” says  John Carroll, head of product management and international business at Santander.

The UK had hoped that India would be one of the first trade agreements negotiated post-Brexit. The UK is not currently allowed to negotiate agreements due to its membership of the EU, and must wait until it is reaccepted to the WTO post-Brexit to negotiate its own.

However, India allowed a bilateral investment treaty lapse in April, with analysts claiming this was indicative of how difficult a free trade agreement with India would be to come by. The country is notoriously bureaucratic, and is arguably more focused on increasing its trading ties with neighbouring nations and those with more suitable exports for its economy, through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the ongoing negotiations over an agreement with Australia.

However, Yes Bank is staking its claim as a “preferred host country bank” for UK companies hoping to do business in India, and hopes this agreement will help it grow its international client base.

CEO Rana Kapoor says: “India and the UK have built a significant economic partnership over the last two decades and the UK remains a preferred destination for Indian companies with global aspirations. As a global banking leader, Santander’s large international network along with knowledge expertise, makes it a natural partner of choice for Indian companies looking to globalise.”