German insurance giant Allianz plans to enter the retail banking business in India and is in talks with relevant authorities. "We are reviewing the banking and asset management markets and are negotiating with the authorities," German business daily Handelsblatt quoted Werner Zedelius, head of Allianz's growth markets business, as saying on Monday. Allianz enters the Indian insurance market through a joint venture with Bajaj Auto.
The report also cited unnamed sources as saying that Allianz has close ties to its partners in India and that its banking unit, Dresdner Bank, has applied for a banking license in the country. However, Zedelius, a member of the German parent company's management board, declined to comment on the licensing. Allianz will join a host of banking multinationals in India, including Deutsche Bank, C Bank and Standard Chartered. "Looking at the growth model of the Indian economy and the outlook for the banking sector here, we think this is a very attractive opportunity," he added. Allianz sees India as its most important market among emerging countries such as China and Russia, Zedelius said. Citing another company executive who did not want to be named, the newspaper said Allianz would invest less in setting up its retail banking business in India than its rivals because it already has other financial operations in the country. Last week, Allianz signed a joint venture with Auto to sell financial products such as mutual funds, credit cards and home loans.