The Department of Post, Tech Mahindra, Videocon Group and stock exchange NSE have joined big corporates like Ambanis and Birlas to seek entry into banking business through newly created niche category of Payments and Small Finance Banks.
NRI businessman M A Yusuff Ali's Lulu Group and microfinance company Ujjivan Financial Services Private Ltd are also in the fray, as per the list of 113 applicants released by RBI this evening.
As many as 72 applications for Small Finance Banks and 41 applications for Payments Banks were received by the RBI. The receipt of applications for licensing of small finance banks and payments banks closed on February 2.
Coastal Local Area Bank, Equitas Holding, Janalakshmi Financial Services, Repco Micro Finance are among 72 have put in applications for setting up of small finance bank.
As many as 12 individuals like ex-Fino Managing Director Manish Khera and V Balakrishnan former CFO of Infosys have applied under Small Finance Bank category.
Six applications for Payments Bank were submitted by individuals like Kishore Biyani of Future Group, M G George Muthoot chairman of Muthoot Group and Dilip S Shanghvi MD of Sun Pharma.
Small Finance Banks will primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to unserved and under-served sections including small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities.
Payments Banks would be allowed payments and remittance services through various channels. However, such lenders, cannot issue credit cards or undertake lending activities.
On Tuesday, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan had said two external committees would evaluate applications based on fit and proper criteria and other parameters stated in the guidelines.
"As stated in the guidelines, two External Advisory Committees (EACs) will evaluate the applications received for setting up of small finance and payments banks and thereafter make their recommendations to the Reserve Bank," he had said.
The EACs for small finance banks and payments banks will be chaired by former RBI Deputy Governor Usha Thorat, and Nachiket Mor, Director, Central Board of RBI, respectively.
To foray into banking business through payments banks route, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has managed a sort of coup by partnering banking behemoth SBI, the only state-run entity in the fray.
Also, Sunil Mittal-promoted Bharti Airtel has tied up private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank for payments bank.
Those having applied for setting up small finance banks include micro-lender SKS Microfinance, brokerage firm India Infoline, remittance provider UAE Exchange and home loan provider Dewan Housing Finance.
The applicants for Payments Banks category also include Fino Paytech and Vakrangee. Some of the applicants, including Aditya Birla Group, and UAE Exchange had also applied for full-fledged banking licences in 2013, but their applications failed to pass the muster.
Besides, Janalakshmi Financial Services Private Limited, India Infoline Ltd, Department of Posts and Aditya Birla Nuvo also applied for full-fledged banking licences.
Oxigen in collaboration with RBL Bank has applied for the Payments Bank licence and other financial sector player Cholamandalam Investment and Finance too applied for the same space.
Online recharge company Pay Point, Videocon d2h Ltd, Vodafone m-pesa and Weizmann Forex have also applied for a licence for a payment bank.
Members of EAC for small finance banks are M S Sahoo, Secretary, The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), M S Sriram, Professor at IIM Bangalore and M Balachandran, Chairman, National Payments Corporation of India.
Besides, Nachiket Mor, the EAC for Payments Banks would have three members--Roopa Kudva, former MD of Crisil, Shubhalakshmi Panse, former Chairman & Managing Director, Allahabad Bank and Deepak Phatak, Chair Professor, IIT Bombay.