Decks cleared for new players in banking space

Posted: February 23, 2013 in Current affairs




Any Indian-owned corporate can apply

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on Friday, issued final guidelines for setting up of new banks in the private sector, including corporate houses and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), through a wholly-owned Non-Operative Financial Holding Company (NOFHC).

Public sector companies are also eligible to apply. The RBI will allow applicants for new licences until July 1.

“Promoters/ promoter groups should have a past record of sound credentials, integrity and should be financially sound and have a successful track record of running their business for at least 10 years,” RBI said in its guidelines.

The RBI further said that “promoter groups’ business model and business culture should not be aligned with the banking model and their business should not potentially put the bank and the banking system at risk on account of group activities such “as those which are speculative in nature or subject to high asset price volatility.”

However, the RBI does not exclude any companies from speculative sectors such as real estate and brokerage houses from entering the banking sector. In its draft guidelines, earlier, the RBI had excluded companies from these areas from getting new banking licences.

The initial minimum paid-up voting equity capital for a bank would be Rs.500 crore. The NOFHC would initially hold a minimum of 40 per cent of the paid-up voting equity capital of the bank which would be locked for five years and which would be brought down to 15 per cent within 12 years. “The bank shall get its shares listed on the stock exchanges within three years of the commencement of business,” the RBI added.

The aggregate foreign shareholding in the new bank would not exceed 49 per cent for the first five years after which it would be as per the extant policy.

At least 50 per cent of the directors of the NOFHC would be independent directors. The NOFHC and the bank would not have any exposure to the promoter group. “The bank shall not invest in the equity / debt capital instruments of any financial entities held by the NOFHC,” it added.

The new banks should open at least 25 per cent of its branches in un-banked rural centres (population up to 9,999 as per the latest census).


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