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India became the largest contributor to Standard Chartered Bank Plc's yearly profit for the first time as the country's rapid economic growth helped accelerate demand for loans and increase fee income. The UK-based banking group's profit rose 19% to $6.12 billion (`27,500 crore) in 2010, with India contributing $1.19 billion, higher than Hong Kong's $1.10 billion profit. "This growth has been in line with our performance in the last five years, which, in turn, is because of our diversified nature of business in both consumer and wholesale banking and the economic growth in the last few years," said Neeraj Swaroop, regional chief executive officer, India and South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank. India has been a high-growth market for the bank with a 38% compounded annual growth rate over the past five years. Income from India rose nearly 12% to $2.02 billion in 2010, with consumer banking contributing $493 million, up from $444 million in 2009. Of the total income from India, 53% came from interest income and 47% from fees for its various services, the bank said. "Advances grew 28%, including 33% in the consumer business, and deposits grew 27%," said Anurag Adlakha, chief financial officer, India and South Asia, for cartier tank solo online Standard Chartered. The bank's balance sheet crossed $20 billion, up 20% from 2009. Profits were up despite lower margins in 2010. cheap breitling cockpit watches Net interest margins, or the difference between the bank's lending rate and the rate at which it borrows, fell to 3.80% from 3.40% in 2009 mainly because of "increased competition", Swaroop said. The fact that the bank had to set aside less money for bad loans added to the profit. Loan impairments halved to $883 million from $2 billion in 2009. In India, impairments from the wholesale division fell to $23 million from $54 million, and consumer banking impairments fell to $56 million from $147 million. "The credit environment has been superior compared to 2009," Swaroop said. Banks in India faced an increase in defaults on loans, especially relating to credit cards and personal loans, due to job losses during the slowdown. Swaroop said the bank now sees the credit card business in a new light because of the improved economy. "We started slowly getting fake ceramic watches back into the business in the second half of 2010 and it is an important piece of our consumer banking. We plan to use credit bureaus and tap more of our payroll (salary) accounts from here on," he said. Standard Chartered had 1.4 billion credit cards in 2008 and has not added cheap piaget to that since. Standard Chartered is the largest foreign bank in India with 94 branches, which is one-third of all foreign bank branches in cheap breitling montbrillant datora the country. But last year, the bank did not open a single branch in the country because discussions with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have dragged on to this year, Swaroop said. Deepak Tiwari, analyst at Kisan Ratilal Choksey Shares and Securities Pvt. Ltd, said banks such as Standard Chartered want to take advantage of the high growth opportunities in India. "Right now, Standard Chartered's business is dominated by the corporate book but they are very keen to set up a subsidiary here and grow organically through branches," he said. In January, RBI released a discussion paper on foreign banks in India in which it said that it favoured them operating through a wholly owned subsidiary model. Currently, most foreign banks in India operate as branches of their headquarters. Swaroop said his bank will give his feedback on the RBI paper by 7 March. "A discussion on how foreign banks can play a larger role in Indian banking is welcome and a good starting point, rolex submariner watches for sale but we need some clarifications like tax, which is the obvious one," he said.