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Sachin Bansal’s company, 7 others apply for bank licences

MUMBAI: Sachin Bansal’s Chaitanya India Finance, former Citibanker Pankaj Vaish and Akhil Kumar Gupta are among the applicants for a bank licence. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday released the names of eight entities that had put in an application for either a universal bank or a small finance bank (SFB) licence.
Chaitanya India has earlier announced its intent to pursue a banking licence. Non-bank lender UAE Exchange had first applied in 2017 when it was still part of the BR Shetty Group of companies. It has since been sold and renamed Unimoni.
The other applicants in this category are REPCO Bank — a government-promoted cooperative lender operating in the southern states, and Vaish. Coincidentally, the names were released on the same day that Citi announced its decision to exit consumer banking in India, among other markets.

There are also four applicants for an SFB licence. They include banking technology provider VSoft Technologies, Calicut City Cooperative Bank and Dvara Kshetriya Gramin Financial Services. The fourth applicant is Gupta.
Last month, the central bank had appointed a five-member panel to screen the application for new bank licences. The committee is headed by former RBI deputy governor Shyamala Gopinath. The standing external advisory committee (SEAC) has a term of three years.
While announcing the guidelines for new bank licences in 2016, the RBI had indicated that after the central bank screens the applicants, the proposals will be screened by the SEAC.
Last year, an internal working group of the RBI reviewing the corporate structure of private banks said that NBFCs owned by corporates should be allowed to set up banks. Considering that top corporates had sought bank licences in the past, it was expected that many corporate-promoted NBFCs would join the queue for a licence.

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