The apartment purchases should help reduce rental costs by 20 to 25 per cent within the next three years, SBI Singapore Chief Executive and Country Head Anil Kishora was quoted as saying in a report by local daily 'The Straits Times'.
"It will stabilise our cost base. In some sense, it would insulate us from any future increases in pricing, as we won't be paying any rentals," Kishora said, adding that buying property also helps to boost productivity.
According to the report, SBI would want to purchase at least 10 to 20 more units to house staff as it ramps up its local presence.
SBI had recently advertised for purchasing high grade apartments, ranging from 1,100 to 1,400 sq ft in size, near to main schools and rail-based transit system.
It provides housing accommodations to its expatriate staff, 41 of whom are non-resident Indians out of the 241 people employed here.
The SBI expansionary move was in stark contrast to other foreign banks, many of which were cutting jobs and curbing incentives like housing allowances for expatriates as they rebuild balance sheets following the global financial crisis, the report said.
SBI was also enjoying strong support from the growing numbers of Indian companies setting up offices in Singapore.
"Traditionally, Indian companies would operate out of other centres, such as the UK, the US and to some extent Hong Kong, but now most of them prefer to do business out of Singapore," he was quoted as saying.
SBI has a qualified full banking licence, which allows it to operate out of 25 business locations. It has seven branches and 21 ATMs, mainly catering to non-resident Indians and Indian tourists.