India is poised to become the world¶s fourth largest economy in the span of twodecades. Economic prosperity is providing many in this populous nation with real purchasing power; it simply is an opportunity that cannot be overlooked by global banks. Despite its appeal, India remains a developing economy. Thus, global banksseeking a presence or expansion in India must craft a business strategy thatconsiders the country¶s attendant challenges: longestablished competitors;rudimentary infrastructure; dynamic political environment; restrictive regulations;and developing country operational risks. These challenges should be weighedagainst the potential gains from entering the marketplace, as well as the likely costof doing nothing. The global banks have pinpointed four of the most promising product areas to enter into the Indian market: housing loans, automobile loans,small and medium enterprise (SME) banking and personal financial services (PFS).However, recognizing the growth opportunities is only the beginning. Global banks targeting India as a source of new growth will have to do much more than just "show up" ± success will lie in the details of execution.Banking in India originated in the last decades of the 18th century. The oldest bank in existence in India is theState Bank of India, a government-owned bank thattraces its origins back to June 1806 and that is the largest commercial bank in thecountry. Central banking is the responsibility of theReserve Bank of India, whichin 1935 formally took over these responsibilities from the then Imperial Bank of India, relegating it to commercial banking functions. After India's independence in1947, the Reserve Bank was nationalized and given broader powers. In 1969 thegovernment nationalized the 14 largest commercial banks; the governmentnationalized the six next largest in 1980.Currently, India has 96 scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) - 27 public sector banks (that is with theGovernment of Indiaholding a stake), 31 private banks(these do not have government stake; they may be publicly listed and traded onstock exchanges) and 38 foreign banks. They have a combined network of over 53,000 branches and 17,000ATMs. According to a report by ICRA Limited, arating agency, the public sector banks hold over 75 percent of total assets of the banking industry, with the private and foreign banks holding 18.2% and 6.5%respectively.