Big NBFCs to decide their own future: RBI Governor

Big non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) backed by industrial houses like Bajaj Finance, Shriram Transport Finance, Tata Capital, Aditya Birla Capital and Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services have to find a way out of the tightening regulations as the Reserve Bank of India is unlikely to ease norms for them to convert into a bank or permitting them to merge into a bank like the way HDFC merged with HDFC Bank.

Governor Das said it is for the NBFCs to make their own choice and the central bank after having created a broad framework does not have a role in it. “Given the scale-based regulations for NBFCs which is now introduced and given our current status with regard to the bank licensing policy, it is for large NBFCs to take their own commercial decisions about their future, whether they want to continue as it is…we have no problem with that because the regulations provide for that. Or if they want to go for some kind of restructuring, it is for them to decide,” Das said replying to a question in the post policy press conference.

Large NBFCs are also in no hurry to convert into a bank. “We are very happy with the way things are because the changes happening in the digital world are decentralising financial services…In the current structure whether the bank will be the right model 10 to 15 years down the line is the question in our mind. If we take a bank licence, we cannot un-bank if we do not want to remain a bank a few years down the line,” Sanjiv Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Finserv, the holding company for the financial services of the Bajaj Group.

Governor Das said the central bank’s main focus continues to be on promoting and strengthening financial stability. “Over the last three years, we have issued various guidelines on governance, bank CEO and full-time director salaries, on NBFCs, asset reconstruction companies and co-operative banks, which we are examining and will issue framework. It is for large NBFCs to take their own decision on their future,” Das said.

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