RBI to issue new bank licensing norms "very soon"

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to come out ''very soon'' with the final guidelines on new bank licences. The board of governors of the RBI, which is meeting in Guwahati is expected to finalise the policy guidelines.

The RBI has been consulting the finance ministry for some time on the issue of allowing realty firms and broking houses into the banking sector – the two sectors where the problem of black money has been most rampant - deputy governor Anand Sinha said.

''We will come to a mutual position (RBI and the finance ministry) and then issue the final guidelines,'' Sinha said on the sidelines of a function in Mumbai.

Sinha, who is in-charge of the banking operations and development department at the RBI, said ''consultations with the ministry are nearing an end'' and the final guidelines will be issued ''very soon''.

The draft guidelines issued by the RBI earlier, in August 2011, had proposed exclusion of entities with exposure of 10 per cent and more, by way of assets or revenue, in realty and brokerage firms from the banking sphere.

The finance ministry is in favour of RBI allowing realty and broking firms to set up banks even as the IMF had warned the Indian authorities over allowing business houses into banking sector.