Linking bank accounts with Aadhaar mandatory, it is government’s decision: RBI

Oct 23, 2017 0

New Delhi– At a time when customers are rushing to link all their bank accounts with Aadhaar, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has clarified that it never issued any such directions, it was the decision of the Indian government.

The apex bank further clarified that in applicable cases, linkage of Aadhaar number to bank account is mandatory under the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017.

In a response to a Right to Information (RTI) Act application filed by Moneylife India and carried by it on October 18, the RBI said: “The Government has issued a Gazette Notification GSR 538(E) dated 1 June 2017 regarding Prevention of Money laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017, inter-alia, making furnishing of Aadhaar (for those individuals who are eligible to be enrolled for Aadhaar) and permanent number (PAN) mandatory for opening a bank account. It may be noted that Reserve Bank has not yet issued instruction in this regard”.

Clarifying its position, RBI in a statement on Saturday said: “…in applicable cases, linkage of Aadhaar number to bank account is mandatory under the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 published in the Official Gazette on June 1, 2017. These Rules have statutory force and, as such, banks have to implement them without awaiting further instructions.”

The government has made it mandatory to link bank accounts with the 12-digit biometric identification number. The deadline to do it is December 31, 2017.

This linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts is a process over and above the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms already followed by the banks.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in August had said that 524 million Aadhaar numbers had been linked to 736.2 million bank accounts in India.

Banks accounts in India are already linked to the tax-related Permanent Account Number (PAN), which is mandatory.

The Finance Minister had outlined a “one billion-one billion-one billion vision” for the country.
“That is one billion unique Aadhaar numbers linked to one billion bank accounts and one billion mobile phones. Once that is done, all of India can become part of the financial and digital mainstream,” Jaitley had said.

The RTI query further asked whether RBI had Supreme Court’s permission to mandatorily link Aadhaar with bank accounts. In its reply RBI said it had not filed any such petition before the Supreme Court. (IANS)

Read More

Wipro net up 6%, revenue dips 2.5% in Q2

Oct 17, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Software major Wipro on Tuesday reported a Rs 2,190 crore net profit for the second quarter (Q2) of fiscal 2017-18, posting 6 per cent annual growth from Rs 2,074 crore in the like period a year ago and 5.3 per cent sequential growth from Rs 2,080 crore a quarter ago.

In a regulatory filing on the BSE, the IT major said gross revenue for the quarter under review (Q2) at Rs 13,420 crore was a 2.5 per cent decline from Rs 13,766 crore in the same period a year ago and and 1.5 per cent lower from Rs 13,630 crore a quarter ago.

Under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or in dollar terms, net income for the quarter was $336 million and gross income $2.1 billion.

Revenue from its global IT services at $2,014 million was 5.1 per cent up annually from $1,916 million in same period a year ago and 2.1 per cent up quarterly from $1,972 million a quarter ago under IFRS and Rs 13,172 crore under the Indian Accounting Standard.

Revenue from IT services in dollar terms at $2,014 million was above the guidance of $1,962-2,001 million given in July.

Revenue from IT products for the quarter was Rs 300 crore ($46 million).

The operating margin for IT services increased marginally to 17.3 per cent from 16.8 per cent a quarter ago but dipped 0.3 per cent from 17.8 per cent a year ago.

The company has projected revenue from the IT services business in the range of $2,014-2,054 million for the third quarter (October-December) of this fiscal.

“We surpassed the milestone of $2 billion in quarterly revenues for IT services on the back of rigorous execution of our strategy,” said Wipro Chief Executive Abidali Z. Neemuchwala in a statement later.

Though new customer acquisition declined to 41 in Q2 from 45 a quarter ago and 47 a year ago, the total number of active clients increased to 1,274 in Q2 from 1,244 a quarter ago and 1,180 a year ago, with better retention and 99.2 per cent repeat business from them.

“Our unique digital capabilities powered growth in top clients and position us well to drive our clients’ digital transformation,” added Neemuchwala.

Chief Financial Officer Jatin Dalal said productivity gains generated by Holmes automation software and operational efficiencies overcame the impact of wage hikes and expanded margin to 17.3 per cent.

The total number of employees declined 3,031 sequentially to 163,759 at the end of Q2 from 166,790 a quarter ago but was up 3,968 annually from 159,791 a year ago. (IANS)

Read More

Paytm Payments Bank to launch on May 23

May 17, 2017 0

New Delhi– Fintech company Paytm on Wednesday said it will finally launch the operations of its payments bank on May 23.

“We are in the process of launching Paytm Payments Bank on May 23. We recently received approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for Renu Satti to be the CEO,” Paytm spokesperson told IANS here.

The Paytm Payments Bank launch, getting delayed for some time, was earlier scheduled for February.

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma had earlier said the company will focus on expanding into the banking sector this year.

“We want to expand the network across the country and increase the penetration. We want to expand this to deposits and current accounts. I think 2017 will be the year for us to expand into banking. We have to build distribution, reach and customer base,” Sharma had told BTVi earlier.

By 2020, the company targets to reach a customer base of 500 million.

Post-demonetisation, Paytm saw a surge in its customers owing to the digitisation push by the central government.

Read More

Ordinance empowers RBI to initiate insolvency process against debt defaulters

May 5, 2017 0

New Delhi– Banks may be authorised to initiate insolvency resolution process in respect of loan default under the Bankruptcy Code with the promulgation of the ordinance on Friday amending the Banking Regulation Act.

The ordinance, signed by President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday, has a provision under which the central government may authorise the Reserve Bank of India to issue directions to any banking company to initiate insolvency in respect of a default under the provision of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. 2016.

It also has provisions to empowering the RBI to issue directions to banking companies for resolution of stressed assets.

The RBI may specify one or more authorities or committees to which it will appoint members to advice banks on resolution of stressed assets.

The ordinance says that the stressed assets in the banking system has reached unacceptably high levels and urgent measures were required for their resolutions.

The ordinance refers to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code which was enacted to consolidate and amend laws relating to reorganisation and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximisation of value of assets and said its provisions can be effectively used to address problems of non-performing assets by empowering the banking regulator to issue directions in specific cases.

The ordinance was sent to the President after it was cleared by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.

“This ordinance will enhance the power of RBI to manage bad loans,” Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar said. (IANS)

Read More

Indian financial institutions embracing data analytics, AI

Apr 21, 2017 0

Mumbai– Focusing on data analytics, mobile and AI technologies, FinTech companies are changing the market dynamics and 95 per cent of Indian financial institutions are expected to partner with FinTechs in 2017-18 to boost innovation, global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said on Friday.

According to the PwC FinTech report ‘Redrawing the lines: FinTech’s growing influence on Financial Services’, 84 per cent of the respondents said they are driving internal efforts to innovate through FinTech.

“Eighty seven per cent of financial institutions consider startups to be source of disruption and a majority of the players say they are embracing FinTech and seek to utilise it to grow and transform their businesses,” said Vivek Belgavi, Partner and Leader, Fintech, PwC India, in a statement.

“However, other entities like social media platforms and e-tailers have also been cited as the source,” Belgavi added.

Sixty seven per cent of Indian financial institutions consider non-traditional FinTech companies a threat to their business.

This number is slightly lower than the global average of 80 per cent, perhaps an indication that the market in India is not yet as matured as it is globally, particularly in the non-payments segments, the report added.

Most incumbents in the industry are focused on data analytics, Mobile and AI technologies because so far, many of them have found it difficult to manage their data and offer customer-centric and insights driven digital services.

“But developments around emergent technologies like chatbots, natural language searches and digital KYC can enable them to enhance and expand their portfolio of services,” the report said. (IANS)

Read More

India to infuse Rs 8,586 crore capital in 10 weak banks

Mar 19, 2017 0

Chennai– Contrary to its earlier stand of infusing fresh capital in strong banks, the central government has decided to infuse fresh capital totalling Rs 8,586 crore into 10 weak banks subject to commitment to quarterly milestones by bank boards, management, employees and unions, said a top leader of All India Bank Employees’ Union (AIBEA).

He also said SBI Caps will draw a bank wise action plan based on which a tripartite agreement between the government, bank management and employee unions will be signed committing themselves towards certain milestones.

“The central government has written to the heads of 10 banks indicating the amount of fresh capital it would infuse during FY2017. But the infusion is subject to a tripartite agreement between the central government, banks and the unions for a time bound turn around programme,” C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary of AIBEA, told IANS on Sunday.

He said the government has said that the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is to commit all the three parties to specified and quantifiable milestones to be measured on quarterly basis.

Venkatachalam said the reason for signing the MoU is understandable and AIBEA is ready for it.

He said the central government has listed out five parameters under which the milestones would be fixed.

These are: (a) active management of non-performing assets (NPA), strengthening of lending and monitoring processes; (b) arranging capital from the market; (c) plan for disposal of non-core assets; (d) divesting stakes in subsidiaries, closure of loss-making domestic and international branches; (e) reduction in operational expenses including employee benefits to would be reversed once the banks turns around.

According to Venkatachalam, the unions may be agreeable with all the conditions barring the raising of equity capital from the market as it would result in disinvestment.

“All the government-owned banks are making good operational profits. The net profit is low owing to provisions for bad loans. If only the bank management focus their energies on recoveries than all the government owned banks will be very much profitable,” Venkatachalam said.

He said the capital adequacy norms or the Basel norms are for private banks and need not apply for government owned banks.

“All the bank unions will be meeting in Kolkata on March 24 to discuss the government’s proposal,” Venkatachalam said.

He added the government has asked the heads of the 10 banks to give their consent on its new proposals.

Venkatachalam said the name of the banks and the amount of capital to be infused by the government are:

Allahabad Bank (Rs 418 cr), Andhra Bank (Rs 1,100 cr), Bank of India (Rs 1,500 cr), Bank of Maharashtra (Rs 300 cr), Central Bank of India (Rs 100 cr), Dena Bank (Rs 600 cr), IDBI Bank (Rs 1,900 cr), Indian Overseas Bank (Rs 1,100 cr), UCO Bank (Rs 1,150 cr), and United Bank of India (Rs 418 cr).

Venkatachalam said the Kolkata-based UCO Bank management is likely to meet the bank unions and brief them about the government’s proposal.

“No other bank management has called the unions for a discussion. Perhaps this would happen soon,” Venkatachalam added. (IANS)

Read More

Devang Mody to head Reliance Commercial Finance

Mar 14, 2017 0

Chennai– Forty-four year old Devang Mody has been appointed CEO of Reliance Commercial Finance Ltd (RCFL), the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Reliance Commercial Finance, a subsidiary of Reliance Capital Ltd, focusses on lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with assets under management (including securitised portfolio) of Rs 16,191 crore ($2.4 billion) as of December 31, 2016.

“I am delighted to welcome Devang Mody as the new CEO of our Commercial Finance business, a high priority growth area for Reliance Capital in the future,” Anil D. Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Capital, was quoted as saying in the statement.

“Devang is a visionary pioneer, and comes with an excellent track record of creating and rapidly growing highly profitable lending businesses in different segments. We expect Reliance Commercial Finance to significantly accelerate its growth momentum under his leadership,” Ambani added.

“India has embarked upon a major growth trajectory that will offer exponential growth opportunities for lending businesses. I thank Reliance Capital for giving me this opportunity to lead and grow this already established and high potential business,” Mody was quoted as saying in the statement.

A chartered accountant by qualification, Mody joins Reliance Commercial Finance from Bajaj Finance, where he served as President – Consumer Business, managing a group of B2B and B2C lending businesses.

Read More

Note ban hit microfinance loans in Q3 by 26 percent

Feb 16, 2017 0

New Delhi–The Indian microfinance industry recorded a drop of 26 per cent in the number of loans disbursed and a 16 per cent decline in loan amounts disbursed during the third quarter ended December, as compared to the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal, the Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) said on Thursday.

“The pulling out of the High-Value Currency Notes (HCVNs) from circulation significantly impacted the microfinance sector, which is 99 per cent cash-driven,” MFIN — the self-regulatory body of the Reserve Bank-regulated non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs) — said in a release here.

“The decrease on both disbursement and collection is due to the impact on industry post discontinuance of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes,” it said.

“Post the discontinuation of HCVNs with effect from midnight of 8th November, the industry was thrown out of gear initially,” said MFIN Chief Executive Ratna Vishwanathan.

“During the whole two months post discontinuing of High-Value Currency Notes, MFIN has had to engage with state governments, at both the ministerial level as well as the bureaucracy, the RBI and extensively with the press, to quell the surge of disinformation with reference to microfinance practices,” she added.

According to the body, loans disbursed during the third quarter ended December amounted to Rs 12,424 crore, as compared to Rs 14,707 crore disbursed during the same quarter last year.

However, the microfinance industry grew by 53 per cent year-on-year during the quarter in consideration, the statement said.

The aggregate gross loan portfolio of microfinance institutions stood at Rs 56,634 crore in the quarter ended December 2016, as compared to Rs 36,912 crore in the same quarter of the previous year.

The MFIN also said that 56 per cent of total disbursements during the quarter came from five states — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Odisha and Bihar. (IANS)

Read More

RBI chief asks centre to drastically cut borrowings

Jan 11, 2017 0

Gandhinagar– Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel on Wednesday warned that the government’s debt to GDP ratio was constraining the country’s sovereign ratings and called upon the central government to work towards reducing high central and state borrowings.

Urjit Patel

In his address at the biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit here, Patel said the country’s cumulative fiscal deficit of the states and the centre was among the highest in G20 countries, at 6.4 per cent of the GDP for financial year 2016-17.

Citing data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he said: “We have to take cognisance of these comparisons and facts as we go forward to make progress. Specifically, this will help us to better manage risks for ourselves and thereby mitigate financial volatility.”

The RBI chief said that low and stable inflation was indeed important but at the same time, India must ensure its medium-term consumer-prices based inflation target of four per cent is “secured on a durable basis.”

Read More

Indian mutual fund industry may touch Rs 20 lakh crore sooner than expected

Jan 4, 2017 0

Chennai– With lower bank interest rates and demonetisation, the assets under management (AUM) of the Indian mutual fund industry are expected to touch Rs 20 lakh crore sooner than expected, said industry experts.

The AUM of the mutual fund industry touched Rs 16.93 lakh crore at the end of quarter October-December 2016, up from Rs 16.10 lakh crore at the end of the previous quarter July-September 2016.

The industry added Rs 82,610 crore to its kitty during the third quarter of the current fiscal, as per industry numbers.

However the next two months would be crucial as the central government would present its annual budget.

“As more and more money enters the banking system, we see a clear surge in investments within capital markets, especially MF (mutual funds) and debt instruments. We are quite confident of the MF industry touching Rs 20 lakh crore sooner than expected,” said Sundeep Sikka, Executive Director and CEO, Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd (Reliance Mutual Fund).

Agreeing with him, Parag Parikh Financial Advisory Services Pvt Ltd-sponsored Mutual Funds’ CEO Neil Parag Parikh told IANS: “We are seeing people excited in putting money into mutual fund. The uptrend will happen next year as people generally invest in mutual funds when the markets come down.”

“While it is difficult to hazard a guess as to when the industry would touch the milestone of Rs.20 lakh crore, it may happen sooner than expected. May be in two or three year’s time,” he added.

According to Parikh, the next two months would be crucial as the full impact of the demonetisation would be experienced since till December 2016, the old high value currencies were allowed to be used.

“One has to wait and see as to how the demonetisation would affect the economy and its different sectors. One should also wait to see the US policies under Trump,” he added.

Meanwhile, last quarter ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund continued to be at the top spot with an AUM of Rs 227,989 crore and is followed by HDFC Mutual Fund with Rs 221,825 crore and Reliance Mutual Fund with Rs 195,845 crore.

Going by the industry numbers, Reliance Mutual Fund logged the highest sum in terms of accretion to its AUM during the third quarter at Rs.12,717 crore followed by ICICI Prudential with Rs 12,003 crore.

Read More