RBI unhappy as payments banks licensees drop out

Reserve Bank of India deputy governor S S Mundra today expressed displeasure at two in-principle licensees for payments banks cancelling their plan to set up such banks.

''We would certainly feel a little aggrieved because lot of effort on the part of RBI goes in processing these applications,'' Mundra told reporters in Mumbai.

Last week, Sun Pharma founder Dilip Shanghvi with IDFC Bank and Telenor pulled out from their payment banks plans (See: Sun Pharma, Telenor and IDFC Bank drop payments bank plan).

Before this, the Cholamandalam group dropped its plan to set up a payments bank a couple of months ago.

Last August, RBI gave in-principle approval to 11 applicants including the Department of Posts, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Airtel M Commerce Services, Fino PayTech, National Securities Depository, Reliance Industries, Tech Mahindra and Vodafone m-pesa for setting up payments banks.

Besides Shanghvi, Paytm's Vijay Shekhar Sharma was also a successful applicant.

When asked whether RBI would levy processing fee on the entities which have pulled out, Mundra said the current regulation does not give scope for charging such a fee.

''Unfortunately, that kind of enabling mechanism is not there today. But if we learn by experience, probably this is something which can help in augmenting our revenue to some extent,'' the RBI deputy governor said.

When asked when the central bank will issue the first licence for a universal bank, he said there was no timeline.

''The opportunity to submit application would be available on ongoing basis but how long it will take there is no prescribed (timeline). It needs due diligence and inputs from various agencies and you cannot control their behaviours,'' he said.

Earlier this month, the RBI issued draft guidelines for issuing on-tap universal bank licences.

Mundra said apart from payments and small finance banks, there is a room for some more categories of differentiated licences too.